What is vertigo
With vertigo, a person may feel that he is circling or rocking or as if the world is rotating even when he is completely stable. Sound waves pass through the outer ear canal to the ear drum. There the sound is converted into vibration and when these vibrations reach the vestibular nerve, it transmits these signals to the brain. This system, along with a collection of semicircular canals in the inner ear, helps provide real-time feedback about a person’s position in space. Vertigo means relaxation in any part of this entire process. Vertigo can have various causes and causes can be differentiated into peripheral or central. The central causes of vertigo are rooted in the brain and spinal cord, while peripheral vertigo is caused by some problem in the inner ear. However, vertigo in most cases is caused by problems in the inner ear. Vertigo can occur when the inner ear swells or small cells within the semicircular canals get irritated due to illness. Treatment of vertigo depends on what the problem is. Various methods of treatment include vestibular rehabilitation, canalith reposing maneuvers and medications. Sometimes surgery may be needed if it is caused by a tumor or injury to the brain or neck.
What is dizziness ?
Dizziness is a term associated with the feeling of being belligerent, unstable, lethargic or weak. The condition can sometimes be faint. Dizziness usually affects the eyes and ears.
Conditions often leading to dizziness are asymmetry and dizziness. Imbalance refers to loss of balance. Vertigo is associated with sensation. A person with vertigo may feel like the room is moving.
It may also be associated with nausea or sometimes may be so severe or sudden that you need to lie down or sit somewhere. This episode usually lasts for seconds or days and there is a possibility that it may recur.
Vertigo is rarely severe. Occasional vertigo usually resolves on its own. However, frequent incidents of dizziness can adversely affect the quality of life. Chronic dizziness may also be an indicator of an underlying medical condition.
What are the symptoms of vertigo?
Vertigo is associated with certain symptoms. However, most of these symptoms vary depending on the underlying condition. Therefore, not all people with dizziness may experience all those symptoms.
- Irregular heartbeat
- Double vision
- Loss of balance
- Head ache
What are the causes of vertigo?
Vertigo: Vertigo is a condition characterized by a false or artificial sensation of spinning. A person experiencing dizziness may feel as if the environment around them is rotating. Vertigo is often caused by internal ear problems. These problems include:
- Meniere’s Disease
- Motion sickness: Being in a moving vehicle can interfere with the work of the inner ear. This can sometimes cause dizziness and nausea or vomiting. This condition is often referred to as “motion sickness”. The situation usually revolves when the person starts walking on normal ground.
- Migraine: Migraine is a medical condition characterized by frequent headaches that cause intense pain on one side of the head. People suffering from migraines have an increased risk of dizziness because the latter is one of the symptoms of migraine. Migraine usually precedes the onset of its pain.
- Low Blood Pressure: Dizziness can occur as a result of a heavy or rapid drop in blood pressure. Sudden changes in blood pressure may occur due to low intake of water, loss of blood, pregnancy, or allergic reaction. A sudden drop in blood pressure can occur due to sitting or getting up.
- Heart disease: Atherosclerosis is a medical condition that causes plaque formation in the arteries. The condition affects heart health and functioning and may cause dizziness. Dizziness can also be a warning sign of a heart attack or stroke.
- Iron deficiency: People suffering from anemia can experience a feeling of dizziness. Anemia is a condition in which there is not enough oxygen-rich blood in the body due to iron deficiency.
- Hypoglycemia: A person may feel dizzy if the blood sugar level drops more than normal. The condition in which the blood sugar level in the body is low is called hypoglycemia. This may be due to poor or inadequate diet, excessive alcohol intake, hormonal imbalance or intake of certain medications such as aspirin.
- Stress and anxiety: Stress stimulates the brain to release certain hormones that cause blood vessels to contract, increased heart rate, and faster breathing. All these reactions result in dizziness or lightlessness. Similarly, stressful situations can cause an anxiety attack, which can result in dizziness.
How is dizziness diagnosed?
The doctor first asks you a certain question about the symptoms that you experience and the medicines you are taking.
Common situational settings
The doctor may then ask you to undergo a physical examination. The purpose of the test is to check your balance and the response of the central nervous system to the major nerves as you walk.
Some of the other tests that you may be asked to undergo include:
- Ear check
- Eye movement test
- Head movement test
- Rotary chair testing
In addition to all these tests, the doctor may also ask you to take blood tests or other examinations to determine your heart health status. Those who were suspected of a stroke or who have suffered a head injury may be asked to undergo an MRI or CT scan immediately.
How is dizziness or vertigo be treated?
Dizziness usually cures on its own without the need for any medical treatment. The body adapts itself to factors that may contribute to the feeling of dizziness. Dizziness due to factors such as excessive exercise, heat, or dehydration can be self-managed by increased intake of water and other hydrating fluids.
However, if dizziness is persistent due to an underlying drug condition, treatment may be necessary. Depending on the underlying cause, treatment for dizziness may include the following:
People with inner-ear problems may be prescribed certain medications and exercise at home that can help restore balance.
If the cause of dizziness is benign positional vertigo (BPV), a physician may perform head maneuver (also known as canalithic reporting or epileptic maneuver).
For people with meniere’s disease, water peel (diuretic) may be prescribed with a low sodium diet.
If the cause of dizziness is migraine, certain medications and lifestyle changes can be prescribed to avoid triggering migraine attacks.
For anxiety-induced vertigo, medications such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (2) can be prescribed. Anticholinergics such as Scotchamine Skin Patch (Transderm Scope) also reduce dizziness.
Dizziness (including the inner ear), administration of injections (gentamicin) and surgical removal (labyrinectomy) may be considered for some conditions.
Meclizine (antivert) is a part of antihistamine that provides long-term short-term relief.
Medical measures like balance therapy learn some exercises to make your body’s balance system less sensitive to spinning or motion. This physical therapy is known as vestibular rehabilitation. It is commonly used for people with vestibular neuritis condition of the inner ear that causes vertigo.
Who is not eligible for treatment?
The person who is not suffering from the symptoms of vertigo is not eligible for treatment. A person affected by benign paroxysmal position vertigo is not suited to undergo vestibular rehabilitation. The appellee manoeuvre requires some head practice.
A person who has severe head / neck injury is not eligible for this treatment. The person needs to consult a doctor before understanding whether he is eligible to take medications such as antihistamines and prochlorperazine.
There are some factors that are associated with increased risk of dizziness. Some of them include:
- People over 50 years old
- History of head injury
- Family history of vertigo patients
- Medication regiment containing antidepressants or antipsychotics
- Medical condition that affects balance
- History of feeling episodes of dizziness or fainting
Are there any side effects?
Side-effects of vestibular rehabilitation therapy include dizziness, muscle fatigue, syncope, weakness, and instability and it sometimes exacerbates the disorder. Epley maneuver has no serious side effects. However, a small proportion of patients undergoing their treatment experience transient nausea while fewer people experience vomiting.
Prochlorperazine has many side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, sleep sickness, constipation, swelling in the breasts, weight gain and absence of menstruation for women. Side effects of antihistamines include drowsiness, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, vision problems, confusion, and problems with urination.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
There are many lifestyle changes you can make to know about the dizziness that causes havoc in your daily life. After receiving treatment, some special things should be kept in mind. Get plenty of rest, keep yourself hydrated at all times and have regular meals.
If you feel dizzy again, lie down immediately. Make your home safe to deal with chronic dizziness. This is done by having a cane, walker, tub mats and restrictions that can help the patient avoid injury. An anxious person who suffers from vertigo may be helped by some reassurance.
What are the complications involved in dizziness?
Some of the complications involving dizziness increase the likelihood of a fall or injury. The risk of accidents may also increase while driving or operating heavy machinery. It can adversely affect the quality of life for a long time if the condition that contributes to dizziness is not diagnosed and treated. How long does it take to recover?
Dizziness medications are harmless and symptoms usually last about a week to 6 weeks. Next, you need to follow your doctor’s instructions and maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent complications and recurrence.
What are the natural methods of treating dizziness?
Some natural methods of treating dizziness include:
- Foods and nutrients: Certain foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E and iron can relieve dizziness. Ginger is particularly helpful against dizziness.
- Self-awareness: It can help prevent dizziness to a great extent. Self-awareness involves identifying triggers that are dizzy and avoiding those triggers.
- Acupuncture: According to studies, acupuncture can help provide therapeutic relief from dizziness.
- Physiotherapy: Vestibular rehabilitation can help improve balance and reduce the risk of dizziness.
- Drink more water: Dehydration can cause dizziness. Dehydration can be avoided by drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day. It is also recommended to avoid or reduce the intake of diuretics (diuretics) such as caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and tobacco to reduce the risk of dehydration and dizziness.
Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh. In his practice, he had treated more than 1000 plus patients worldwide.