Vertigo is a sensation that you are out of balance. The room may feel like it’s spinning and for the elderly, having vertigo may put them at high risk for falls and accidents. It’s worth noting that vertigo is a symptom, not a disease or condition. It is highly important to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of vertigo, so that any underlying medical condition can be addressed.
Vertigo produces a dizzy sensation when the information in the brain doesn’t match up with what the body is experiencing. The most common causes of vertigo include: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BBPV), Meniere’s disease, and vestibular neuritis.
BBPV occurs when calcium builds up in the inner ear canals, which causes brief bouts of dizziness that last from 20 seconds to 1 minute. This may seem like a short period of time, but for a person experiencing extreme dizziness — especially in public places — it can be very dangerous and unsettling.
BBPV can be triggered by tilting the head upward, downwards, or sideways. Lying down, turning over, or getting up from a sitting or lying position may also trigger vertigo.
Symptoms of BBPV may vary from person to person. Some individuals struggle with balance, while others experience dizziness when making sudden head movements.
If you are experiencing frequent bouts of dizziness and nausea, it is important that you seek medical attention right away, as these could also be symptoms of high blood pressure.
When vertigo is persistent and impacting your way of life, it’s time to see a doctor. A comprehensive medical history check will be performed, and various tests will be carried out to determine the type and severity of vertigo. Based on the results, further tests may be recommended to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
The course of treatment for vertigo depends on what is causing it. For BBPV, a series of simple head movements known as the Epley maneuver is recommended.
In some cases, vertigo symptoms may improve over time without needing any treatment. However, for patients who are experiencing vertigo with Meniere’s disease, it can be a never-ending cycle with repeated episodes that may last for months, or even years.
Medicines, such as antihistamines and prochlorperazine can help in the early stages of vertigo. Generally, there is no specific product that can treat vertigo. However, there are medications and treatment options that can relieve or address the symptoms brought about by vertigo.
Another treatment for vertigo is vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT). VRT sessions include a series of exercises for dizziness and balance problems. VRT has helped a significant number of patients feel better after a few sessions.
Vertigo is not something to be taken lightly. After initial consultation, our audiologists can refer you to the right specialist to complete your vertigo testing and treatment. If you suspect that you or a family member is exhibiting vertigo symptoms, it would be best to consult a health professional right away.
Audiologists at Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center can help diagnose and treat vertigo and other hearing and balance disorders.