Understanding and Managing Vertigo

Your world seems to be suddenly spinning around you. The walls are sideways, and the sky is on the ground. Episodes can be mild ones, or they can be extreme to the point that you are completely disoriented. You can even fall to the ground, risking severe injury. You might be part of the nearly 69 million American’s suffering from vertigo or chronic dizziness.

Around 5% to 10% of the population younger than 40 years suffer from this symptom. This percentage rises to nearly 40% if the patients are 40 years old. And if you’re caring for a loved one older than 65 years old, know that they could belong to the 25% who might suffer a fall. Make sure that you take them to your ear, nose, and throat doctor in Denver to have them properly diagnosed.

Vertigo is more of a symptom rather than a condition. Consulting a GP for this symptom is as common as visiting for a headache or back pain. If you or your loved one have experienced similar episodes of dizziness, this article can help you understand and manage your situation.

What Is Vertigo?

As mentioned, vertigo is a symptom rather than a condition in itself. People experiencing dizziness perceive the environment around them as spinning or that they are the ones turning. In its severest form, this can cause the person experiencing the symptom to lose balance. That is where the danger lies, where a fall can occur and cause serious physical injuries.

These episodes can happen for just a few seconds or, in severe instances, more than a few seconds. Another symptom that you should be aware of is the feeling of suddenly losing balance, which makes standing up or walking a struggle. It can also make you feel sick to the point of vomiting.

Vertigo is usually attributed to the following:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV
  • Migraines
  • Ear infections
  • Vestibular neuronitis or the swelling of the vestibular nerve

What Can You Do?

If you’ve experienced similar symptoms more than a few times, and you haven’t consulted a medical practitioner yet, now is the time to do so. Do not wait for the symptom to manifest in its severest form. It could prove dangerous or even life-threatening if the episode happens, for example, when you're crossing the street or climbing up or down a stairwell. Here are more things that you should take note of:

  1. Otolaryngologists. You can consult a GP, but the specialist you should see should be an ENT or an Otolaryngologist. Explain to your doctor the very first episodes and what you exactly felt, including any sensation of or actual vomiting.
  2. Various maneuvers. If you’re fortunate enough that an attack happens at home and just as you’re getting out of bed, therapists suggest different movements like the Epley Maneuver, Semont Maneuver, and Half-Somersault or Foster Maneuver. Your therapist can explain these different approaches, or you can visit this link for more details.
  3. Other tests. Depending on the initial diagnosis, further tests might be recommended, including audiometry tests, caloric testing, posturography, or an MRI.

If you are aware of your situation, you should know that the best thing to do when an attack happens is to lie still. Prepare your room so that it can remain dark as you get up in the morning. You might also be prescribed with some medication. Limit your head movements and minimize stress as these can induce an attack.

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