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Vertigo: All You Need To Know

Vertigo: All You Need To Know

01 August, 2022

Vertigo is a medical condition characterized by a spinning sensation, in which a person feels that they or the objects around them are moving or rotating. The spinning sensation may be barely noticeable or maybe so intense making normal life very difficult. Attacks of vertigo can occur suddenly and last for several hours or very long or even days. It can happen at any age, but is common in older people about 65 years and above.

Types of Vertigo

There are different types of vertigo

  • Peripheral vertigoIt usually occurs as a result of a disturbance in the organs of the inner ear.
  • Central vertigoCentral vertigo is connected to the problem in the central nervous system. It is usually associated with a disturbance in either the brainstem or the cerebellum.

Causes of Vertigo

Different diseases and conditions can cause vertigo. They include

  • LabyrinthitisLabyrinthitis is inflammation of the inner ear.
  • Meniere’s diseaseA buildup of fluid in the inner ear can cause vertigo.
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigoCertain head movement triggers vertigo. It usually affects older adults.
  • Brainstem diseaseStroke.

Other causes include

  • Head injuries or trauma.
  • Ear surgery.
  • Migraine headache..
  • Prolonged bed rest.
  • Certain medications.
  • Syphilis.

Signs and Symptoms of Vertigo

Some common signs and symptoms of vertigo include

  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Dizziness.
  • A loss of balance that makes standing or walking difficult.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Headache.
  • A feeling of fullness in the ear.

Risk factors of Vertigo

Certain risk factors can increase your chances of vertigo. These include

  • Being over the age of 50.
  • Being a woman.
  • Experiencing a head injury.
  • Taking certain medications, especially antidepressants or antipsychotics.
  • Experiencing any medical condition that affects balance or your ears.
  • Having a previous episode of vertigo.
  • Family history.
  • Experiencing an inner ear infection.
  • Having high levels of stress.
  • Alcohol consumption.

Diagnosis of Vertigo

During an evaluation, the doctor may obtain a full history of symptoms and events including medications that have been taken, migraine headache and recent head injury or ear infection.

A physical examination is then performed, during a physical examination, the doctor may likely look for

Signs and symptoms of dizziness that are triggered by eye or head movements, Inability to control eye movements and involuntary movement of the eye from side to side.

If the cause is difficult to determine, additional testing may be performed

  • An MRI scan to visualize your head and body. Doctors can use the images to identify and diagnose a variety of conditions.
  • Videonystagmography (VNG) uses a camera to measure involuntary eye movement while the head is placed in a different position. This can help determine if the dizziness is due to an inner ear disorder. The patient wears glasses containing a video camera.
  • Electronystagmography (ENG) is similar to VNG. This procedure uses electrodes to detect abnormal eye movements. The patient wears a headset with electrodes placed around the eyes.

Treatment for Vertigo

Some types of vertigo resolve without treatment

  • Prescription drugs such as lorazepam, meclizine can be used to relieve the dizziness caused by Meniere’s disease.
  • Symptoms of nausea can be relieved by using drugs such as antihistamines.
  • Steroids, antiviral drugs or antibiotics may be prescribed for a patient with an acute disorder affecting the middle ear.
  • Sometimes, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) can be treated with an inner surgery, a bone plug is inserted into the inner ear to block the area triggering vertigo.
  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol and tobacco smoking can also help.
  • The volume of the fluid retained in the body that can build up in the inner ear can also be reduced by restricting salt.

Home Remedies for Vertigo

  • Epley maneuverThe Epley maneuver is used in combination with medications to treat benign paroxysmal posterior vertigo (BPPV) and also to prevent its recurrence.

How to do

  • While sitting on bed, place a pillow behind you.
  • Turn your head 45° to the side of the affected ear.
  • Lie down with your head in the same position and rest your shoulders on the pillow. Your head should be bent over the bed for 30 seconds.
  • Tilt your head 90° to the opposite ear (without lifting your head).
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then rotate your entire body 90° to the side of the ear that is now down.
  • After 30 seconds, sit up slowly and keep your head in a neutral position.
  • Repeat the process three to four times a day.

Half somersault maneuver

The half somersault maneuver is an alternative to the Epley maneuver and is relatively more effective for some people. However, more than half a somersault is required to relieve benign paroxysmal posterior vertigo (BPPV).

How to do

  • Kneel on the floor, then sit on your calves until you place your palms on the floor directly in front of your bent knees.
  • Pull in your back and tilt your neck to look at the ceiling. This is the starting position.
  • Bring your body to the starting position of a somersault, touching the top of your head to the floor just in front of the knees.
  • While remaining in this somersault position, turn your head to the side most affected by the dizziness so that you are facing the corresponding elbow.
  • Lift your turned head and the rest of your upper body and sit back on your calves.
  • Stretch your neck to raise your head above body level.
  • Return to your starting position.

Brandt-Daroff exercise

The Brandt-Daroff exercise is very effective for vertigo caused by labyrinthitis or BPPV, especially for those who are sensitive to the redistribution maneuver or for whom other maneuvers have no positive effect.

How to do

  • Sit up straight, this will be your starting position.
  • Lie on your side with your nose facing up at an angle of about 45°.
  • Remain in this position for about 30 seconds or until the dizziness subsides before returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat the same exercise on the other side.
  • Ginkgo bilobaGinkgo biloba extract can also be used to relieve symptoms of dizziness or vertigo. Ginkgo biloba is widely used in Eastern medicine for its antioxidant properties. It can also help increase blood flow to the brain, thereby improving cognitive function. You can prepare a therapeutic tea with ginkgo biloba extract or ask your doctor to start a supplement.
  • AlmondsAlmonds are full of vitamins B and E, which obviously make them very effective in treating vertigo. Soak four almonds overnight in water. In the morning, make a paste of soaked almonds and add it to a glass of warm milk and consume it.
  • Ginger teaGinger is known for its healing properties, which can help relieve symptoms of vertigo. This can be done by increasing blood circulation in your body and relieving nausea. Boil 2 cups of water in a pan, add a few pieces of raw ginger, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Soak the ginger in hot water for about 10 minutes, then strain the tea into a cup. Add a few drops of honey or lemon to enhance the taste.
  • AcupressureAcupressure is a safe and inexpensive technique for treating vertigo caused by Meniere's disease. It involves pressing specific points of the body with fingers or a spoon to stimulate blood flow and relieve various ailments.

When to see a doctor?

See your doctor, if you experience severe dizziness or vertigo along with severe headache or chest pain.

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