We all know the feeling of getting dizzy after spinning around or riding a carnival ride. Typically the feeling lasts only a moment before you get your balance again.
Imagine living with this feeling on a regular basis, when you were trying to work or do daily activities. This dizziness, known as vertigo, can be frightening, can interfere with quality of life, and can even be dangerous if it results in falls or injuries.
What causes vertigo
There’s no easy way to determine what is causing your dizziness without the help of your physician. Your body’s sense of balance is a complex system that relies upon many factors, including your ears, eyes, and even skin and joints. If one of these signals goes awry on its way to the brain, you may experience vertigo. Causes of vertigo may include:
- Cataracts or other eye issues
- An ear infection
- Congestion in the nose and sinuses due to allergies or a cold
- Anxiety disorders
- Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis
BPPV: A likely culprit
For many people, however, dizziness isn’t caused by any of these factors. The most common cause of vertigo is a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV can be caused by a blow to the head but often there is no known trigger. It can occur in people as a normal part of aging.
BPPV is not serious but it can certainly be distressing and difficult to deal with. It is caused by crystals inside the inner ear getting moved out of place. If these crystals collect in the wrong canal, they send incorrect signals to the brain.
Fortunately, BPPV can often be corrected with a simple head exercise. A qualified health professional can perform a painless maneuver that rolls the crystals back into place. Known as the Epley Maneuver, it involves moving and tilting your head in a specific sequence that will move the crystals back to the correct location.
The second most common cause of dizziness is Ménière’s disease. This is a non-life-threatening condition that can cause extreme vertigo, and commonly affects people between the ages of 40 and 60. It is caused by a fluid imbalance in the middle ear. It can often be treated with medications and lifestyle changes, such as reducing salt in your diet.
Talking with your doctor
Your physician will want to discuss your overall health and medical history to determine the cause of your dizziness. There are more than a dozen different balance disorders, and often times, they respond well to treatment. Don’t assume the dizziness will go away or try to ignore it. There’s a good chance your condition can be improved with the help of your doctor.
CarePoint Health Primary Care
Your primary care physician can help you manage your healthcare, and answer any questions you have about your health. Your PCP will help you navigate your well visits and specialist care throughout your life, and will be your health care advocate. To find a skilled primary care physician at CarePoint Health, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.