Do you feel at times that you are spinning or the things around you are moving though you are stable and not drunk? Are you accompanied by feeling of nausea or loss of balance? Do you feel as if someone is ringing bell in your ears? Never too late, it is time for you to understand what you are going through and approach for a medical advice. This type of symptom where you feel that things around you are spinning or moving is called vertigo. Vertigo can last for few seconds or minutes or for hours or even for days. In most cases there is a medical condition that causes vertigo. However, at times the cause is unknown. Celebrity like Janet Jackson had to postpone nine shows in 2008, because severe migraines were causing her to have episodes of vertigo. Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage suffers from vertigo, while actor and singer Kristin Chenoweth suffers from Meniere’s disease whose symptom includes vertigo. NBA superstar LeBron James suffers from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).
Causes of vertigo:
- Frequent cause of vertigo is infection (viral infection) in the inner ear which causes inflammation of the nerve that is important for helping the body sense balance. In medical term this is known as vestibular neuritis which often starts after cold and can last for couple of days or weeks.
- Meniere’s Disease: Disorder of the inner ear in which there is accumulation of fluid which causes change of pressure in the ear. It can cause episodes of vertigo along with ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss.
- BPPV: BPPV occurs when tiny calcium particles clump in the canals of the inner ear. The inner ear sends signal to the brain about the movement of head and body relative to gravity. In short it helps to keep your balance. BPPV can occur without any reason, but research says that it is generally associated with geriatric women population.
- Head or neck injury, migraine headaches, brain stroke or tumour, multiple sclerosis, certain medication like antidepressants, anti-seizure and even aspirin and drinking too much alcohol may also increase risk of developing vertigo.
Generally vertigo is triggered as soon as you change the position of your head. People with vertigo describe it as feeling like they are
- Pulled to one direction
- Feeling nauseated
- Abnormal eye movement
- Tinnitus (ringing in ear)
Treatment for vertigo:
Some case of vertigo goes away with time and without any treatment. However, some people have repeated episodes for months or even years, such as those with Meniere’s disease. There are specific treatments for some causes of vertigo. Series of head movement is advised to patients suffering from BPPV.
Medicines like antihistamines are given in early stages of vertigo. Medications may provide some relief but cannot be used for long term. Antibiotics are prescribed in case the patient is suffering from simple inner ear infection. Vestibular rehabilitation exercises are a series of eye and head movements which lead to decreased sensitivity of the nerves within the inner ear and subsequently improvement of vertigo. This simple exercise needs to be practiced by patient for the best result.
In rare cases, surgery may be required if the symptom of vertigo last for months or years. This may involve blocking one of the fluid filled canals in the ear.
Self-help and care is the best practice to avoid episodes of vertigo. There are certain things you can do yourself to help relieve your symptoms. Your doctor may advice you to:
- Sleep with your head slightly raised on two or more pillows
- Getting up slowly from bed
- Avoid bending down to pick up things
- Avoid extending your neck while reaching up to high shelf
- Moving head carefully while doing daily activities
- Do exercises regularly so that your brain gets used to it and reduces the symptoms
Any signs and symptoms of vertigo should be evaluated by doctor. The majority of cases are harmless though can be debilitating and can be treated with prescribed medication. Have a doctor check with new signs and symptoms of vertigo to rule out serious or life threatening causes. Certain symptoms of vertigo may require immediate attention such as double vision, headaches, fever, difficult speaking, abnormal eye movements and difficulty in walking. Do consult a doctor to know exactly what you are suffering from to avoid life threatening disaster.
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Radha K. Iyer is a contributing writer on Treatum Blog. When she is not writing, she can be found reading health and food blogs or experimenting with her culinary skills.
Disclaimer: The entire content of this article is for information purpose only and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. It is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem and disease.