Vertigo may be everything Bono wishes he didn’t know, but for those who suffer from it, it is something they know all too well.
What is vertigo?
Vertigo is the feeling of movement when there is no movement present. Commonly, it is described as ‘feeling like the room is spinning’, and can cause a ‘giddy’ or ‘dizzy’ feeling. Often it may feel like you are going to fall over or lose your balance, and can cause falls in some situations. Often these symptoms are also associated with nausea and vomiting.
What causes vertigo?
Vertigo is caused by some disturbance in the inner ear, which is our centre for balance control. There are many causes of inner ear disturbance leading to vertigo, but by far the most common is called ‘Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo’ (or BPPV). This occurs when tiny particles form inside the inner ear and become disturbed with movement, causing vertigo.
In BPPV, vertigo symptoms are triggered by sudden movement of the head (such as bending over, rolling over in bed or looking up. These vertigo spells are sudden and do not last for longer than a minute, usually resolving once you change head position again.
However, often the spells will occur again over a few days. BPPV is a common condition and is benign, meaning it does not cause any harm to the body.
BPPV is not the only cause of vertigo, other causes include infections, neurological problems, inner ear degeneration and growths within the inner ear. Make sure you tell your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Difficulty speaking or swallowing
Double vision or visual difficulties
Altered strength or feeling in arms, legs or anywhere in body
What should I do?
Your doctor can diagnose BPPV by doing a test on you which should elicit the vertigo symptoms. BPPV usually resolves by itself, and does not require treatment.
However, if the symptoms persist or are severely affecting your life, your doctor may prescribe some medication (to help with nausea, will not stop the vertigo attacks) or educate you about some special exercises (Brandt-Daroff exercises) that can be performed at home to dislodge the particles causing the symptoms.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, feel free to book an appointment with one of our friendly doctors by booking online or contacting us by phone on 8269 6000.
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