Vertigo is a medical condition in which a person feels intense dizziness. The dizziness experienced is akin to a sensation of the inside of one’s head spinning.
When vertigo appears, you may feel pain. Some people may feel dizzy for only a few seconds, but for some, the dizziness can last for hours.
People with very severe vertigo may feel dizzy for days or even months.
Vertigo can get worse when the individual is in a full, crowded, and noisy room. Therefore, vertigo sufferers are advised to stay in quiet environments to help ease the dizziness.
Causes of Vertigo
Vertigo can be caused by several factors. In most cases, this condition is caused by problems with the inner ear.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a condition where tiny calcium particles also called canaliths clump together in the inner ear canal.
The inner ear serves to send signals to the brain regarding body and head movements, adjusting to the force of gravity. This signal helps maintain balance of your body.
However, when the canaliths clump in the inner ear, a person will develop BPPV. This condition can occur without specific causative factors, but it is generally easier to develop as you get older.
There is also Meniere’s disease, a disorder in the inside of the ear due to fluid buildup and changes in pressure inside the ear. This condition can cause vertigo symptoms along with hearing loss and ringing in the ears.
Another disease is vestibular neuritis, also known as labyrinthitis. This disease is an inner ear problem associated with infection by a virus. The infection will cause inflammation of the inner ear around the nerves which are important for the body’s sensory balance. Labyrinthitis can also be caused by colds and flu.
Apart from various inner ear diseases, other factors that can cause vertigo include:
- Stroke and tumor.
- Head or neck injury.
- Certain medications causing ear damage
When to See a Doctor for Vertigo?
Patients who experience symptoms of vertigo should consult a neurologist. The doctor will conduct an examination by asking about the patient’s symptoms to diagnose the type of vertigo suffered.
The doctor may also ask the patient to undergo a simple test that involves making sudden, rapid movements, such as lying down quickly from a sitting position. Vertigo sufferers will experience an imbalance when performing this movement.
If the doctor feels the need to carry out further tests, the patient will be directed to undergo additional tests such as:
- Hearing test. A test that functions to detect if the ear is experiencing interference that can potentially cause vertigo. The test is carried out by playing sounds through earphones.
- Blood test. A test done by counting the number of red and white blood cells in the patient. An abnormal number indicates a disorder in the body, such as infection or inflammation that may potentially cause vertigo.
- Electroencephalography (EEG). A test to observe electrical activity in the brain to determine if the patient has a brain disorder that causes vertigo.
Symptoms of Vertigo
Symptoms of vertigo generally appear when the patient’s head position changes, such as:
- Pulling the head in one direction
Those head movements will cause symptoms such as:
- Feelings of nausea.
- Abnormal eye movements.
- Ringing in the ears or hearing loss.
Vertigo symptoms can vary from person to person. Sometimes, vertigo sufferers will only feel the symptoms of dizziness and spinning. However, there are people who feel all possible symptoms of vertigo.
The duration of symptoms also varies from patient to patient. Some patients only experience symptoms for a few seconds, but there are also those with very severe vertigo who continue to feel dizzy for days to months.
Treatment for Vertigo
Treatment for vertigo depends on the factors causing it. In many cases, vertigo can heal on its own without the need for special treatment. This healing can occur because the brain is slowly able to adapt to the conditions in the inner ear to maintain balance.
If the vertigo is caused by inflammation or infection from a virus, the doctor may provide the patient with antibiotics. Doctors can also help provide recommendations for sports activities that patients can engage in to train their balance.
The most common treatment methods used to cure vertigo patients are:
- Vestibular rehabilitation. Physical therapy to strengthen the vestibular system or the small cavity in the inner ear by triggering other senses to adjust to the vertigo condition. This therapy is recommended for people with recurrent vertigo or who have experienced multiple vertigo conditions
- The canalith repositioning procedure. Therapy with a series of head and body movements specifically aimed at BPPV conditions. These movements can trigger the stored calcium fluid to move into the inner ear cavity. Although simple, this therapy should be done under the supervision of a doctor or therapist.
- Medications. Given to patients with mild vertigo symptoms. The doctor will give you medicine to relieve symptoms of vertigo, such as nausea and dizziness. Vertigo caused by Meniere’s disease can be treated with diuretic drugs or water pills.
- Surgery. Performed on patients with very severe vertigo. Surgery is rarely performed as an attempt to treat vertigo, but in some cases, this method may be necessary. Surgery is usually performed when the vertigo is caused by a more dangerous health problem, such as a tumor or head and neck injury.
Treatment Cost for Vertigo
The cost for vertigo treatment varies, depending on the symptoms, the severity, and the treatment method chosen.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of vertigo treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Vertigo
Vertigo is usually caused by disorders of the inner ear canal.
Some preventive measures to prevent vertigo include:
- Immediately sit down when you feel dizzy.
- Relax and stop worrying about vertigo.
- Turn on the lights when you wake up at night.
- Move your head slowly when you’re doing activities.
- Use a walking stick when balance is disturbed.
- Lie in a dark, quiet room to relieve dizziness.
- Sleep with your head elevated, using more than 2 pillows as support.
- Get out of bed slowly and sit on the edge of the bed for a few seconds before standing up.
The preventive measures above are not only for treating patients with vertigo, but also for people who have experienced vertigo before.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Vertigo.
Treatment of vertigo patients at home can be done by keeping the house calm, quiet, and not too bright. This may help the patient in terms of stabilising and not worsening the dizziness experienced.
When at home, patients are recommended to do activities slowly and carefully. Patients with vertigo should not be left alone to walk in the house, as there is potential for imbalance and falling.