Dizziness / Vertigo

Dizziness/Vertigo: Dizziness can feel like you’re off balance or unsteady. Or it can feel like you’re lightheaded. Or it can feel like you or your surroundings are spinning or turning — also called “vertigo.” Just as there are different types of dizziness, there are different causes, including poor circulation, dehydration, medications, anxiety, brain injury, infection, allergy, neurological. Dizziness can also be caused by inner ear diseases, such as benign positional vertigo — the most common cause of dizziness after head injury. It can occur suddenly, after you move your head, look up, turn over or make other changes in head position. It can last from days to months. Meniere’s disease — which includes vertigo that can last for hours along with nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ear and often hearing loss. Migraine — which can be similar to Meniere’s disease, but usually includes a headache. Everyone feels dizzy now and then — especially when getting up too quickly after sitting or lying down. Dizziness most often corrects itself. But, severe cases may require help from an otolaryngologist, a doctor who is trained to manage ear, nose and throat diseases and identify neurological and equilibrium disorders.

Diagnosis and Treatment of dizziness/vertigo – This involves a careful history and physical examination taken in the office, as well as other testing such as blood pressure, balance testing, hearing testing, and occasionally imaging such as a CT or MRI. Depending on test results, treatment may include medication or balance exercises. Some lifestyle changes can help too, such as not changing head position too quickly, decreasing use of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine or salt, minimizing stress, avoiding allergens.   For benign positional vertigo, patients may be instructed to do a series of simple movements, such as quickly lying down, turning the head, waiting two minutes, then sitting up. The movements help dislodge the tiny piece of calcium that may be stuck in an inner ear canal, causing imbalance.

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