Dizziness is an all encompassing term which can have a variety of meanings. It will is a very common condition which many of us have experienced . Lightheadedness, spinning, feeling faint (called pre-syncope or syncope) can all be included in this complaint.
Lightheadedness or syncope symptoms are often related to a cardiovascular source that is blood pressure related or heart rhythm related.
Vertigo usually means a sense of spinning of your surroundings in relation to you or you in relation to your surroundings.
The sources for vertigo are varied. This can occur with an inflammation of your balance nerve called vestibular neuronitis where there is a an acute , sometimes uncomfortable spinning for several hours which gradually resolves in the course of several days to weeks.
This can occur after an upper respiratory infection or occur without any infection prior to the onset. Occasionally it is treated with steroids and balance therapy. Often an MRI was performed as a part of the work up. This can be accompanied by vomiting.
Another source of vertigo can be Ménière’s disease. This is a condition affecting the fluid balance in the inner ear. This affects women in their 50s and 60s and 70s more so than men. This condition often accompanied by low-frequency fluctuating hearing loss , ringing in the ear, ear fullness or pressure and vertigo episodes which can last anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours. The vertigo is episodic. Initial treatment for this strict salt and caffeine reduction followed by occasional use of meclizine or other medications.
Vertigo can also be affiliated with a retrocochlear lesion called on acoustic neuroma. In these conditions there’s also hearing loss and ringing. The vertigo is subtle and more of an unsteadiness or imbalance rather than true spinning. When a retrocochlear lesion suspected , an MRI is obtained as well. Treatment can be radio surgery or observation depending on the size and location of the lesion and associated symptoms
Finally the most common source of vertigo in the younger age group of patients is benign positional vertigo or BPPV. This can be sudden onset or can occur after trauma or sudden head motion. Patients often have symptoms of vertigo which lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to 90 seconds after rolling over in bed or turning their body to the right or left or occasionally can occur when sitting upright from a lying position. Treatment for this is usually Brandt Daroff exercises or the Epley maneuver which is performed in the office to return the inner ear “salt crystals“ into their proper position. This should not be confused with orthostatic hypotension where there’s a change in the blood pressure with position changes either lying down sitting or standing
If you were experiencing vertigo symptoms or would like your symptoms to be evaluated please call us for an appointment.