Dealing with Vertigo

published on: 12th april, 2021

What Is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a type of dizziness that makes you feel like you are spinning, swaying, or tilting, or like the room is moving around you.

What Causes Vertigo?

The most common causes of vertigo are inner ear problems which include:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – In this condition, extra calcium deposits form in the inner ear. BPPV causes brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. It is usually triggered by specific changes in your head's position. This might occur when you tip your head up or down, when you lie down, or when you turn over or sit up in bed.
  • Meniere disease – This is a condition in which fluid builds up inside the inner ear. This causes vertigo as well as hearing loss and ringing in one or both ears
  • Vestibular neuritis – This is sometimes caused by a virus which can affect the inner ear or the nerve in the inner ear. It is sometimes called "labyrinthitis." People with this condition have vertigo that comes on quickly and can last several days. They also often feel very sick and off balance
  • Head injury – Even a minor head injury can cause inner ear damage and vertigo. This is usually temporary
  • Vestibular migraine – People who get migraines, which are a type of headache, can sometimes have episodes of vertigo. This can happen with or without a headache

Other things that can cause vertigo include:

  • Certain medicines
  • Problems that affect the brain, such as stroke or multiple sclerosis

When to seek doctor help:

  • Have a new or severe headache
  • Have a fever higher than 100.4ºF (38ºC)
  • Start to see double or have trouble seeing clearly
  • Have trouble speaking or hearing
  • Have weakness in an arm or leg or your face droops to one side
  • Cannot walk on your own
  • Pass out
  • Have numbness or tingling
  • Have chest pain
  • Cannot stop vomiting

Treatment:

If your doctor knows what is causing your vertigo, he or she will probably try to treat that problem directly. For instance, if you have calcium deposits in your inner ear, the doctor might try to get them out by moving your head in a specific way.

Your doctor can also give you medicines that might help your vertigo and relieve nausea and vomiting.

If your vertigo is really bad, your doctor might also suggest a treatment called "balance rehabilitation." This treatment teaches you exercises that can help you cope with your vertigo.

Precautions:

  • Avoid driving
  • If you have trouble standing or walking because of vertigo, you are at risk of falling. To reduce the risk of falls, make your home as safe as possible. Get rid of loose electrical cords, clutter, and slippery rugs. Also, make sure that you wear sturdy, non-slip shoes, and that your walkways are clear and well lit.

Dr. Magdi Mohamed

Consultant - Emergency Medicine

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