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Andrew John Rynne, MD  
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Dublin, Ireland

Specialties: sexual dysfunctions, reverse vasectomy

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Vertigo. Three thihgs you need to know.

May 23, 2014 - 2 comments
Tags:

Vertigos

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vertigo

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pressure dizzyness balance hea

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dizzyness

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Menier's Disease

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Head spins

,

Stroke



(1) Vertigo is a symptom and not a disease. When trying to distinguish vertigo from other forms of dizziness it is necessary to be very specific and focused on what exactly it is that the patient is experiencing. There are three things that classically characterize an attack of vertigo and these are:

1. It is of sudden onset.
2. Everything spins around the suffer such that they need to hold on to something solid like a door post, table or    chair to give them a reference point.
3. It is frightening – the victims think that they are having a stroke.

These are the classic characteristics of a vertigo attach and if all three are not present then what the patient is experiencing may not be vertigo at all but some other form of dizziness. An attack of vertigo may or may not be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

(2) Causes of Vertigo: Most causes of vertigo relate to the vestibular system or balance mechanism located in the inner ear. In the main these are:

1. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. This would account for about 30% of all cases of vertigo. The attack is of sudden onset and may be triggered by moving the head into certain positions. The attack is short lived – usually lasts only a few seconds and is thought to be caused by tiny solid crystals forming within the fluid of the balance mechanism.
2. Meniere’s Disease. This is a chronic recurring form of vertigo attacks characterized by accompanying nausea, vomiting and tinnitus or constant ringing in the ear. Again, this is a disorder of the inner ear or vestibular system.   It may account for 10% of all cases of vertigo.
3. The remaining causes of vertigo would be due to viral infections such as vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis – both structures within the inner ear’s balancing mechanism. They may or may not be accompanied by influenza or simple head cold.

(3) Treatment of vertigo. Put very simply, the treatment of vertigo will depend on cause. Finding the underlying cause for vertigo attacks requires specialist knowledge and equipment. In most case a sufferer of recent onset vertigo attacks will need to be seen by an Ear Nose and Throat specialist to have the condition properly diagnosed before appropriate treatment can be commenced.

And finally, a word of warning in this regard. On the Internet you may see this and that being offered as a treatment for vertigo. In the majority of cases purchasing such “treatments” is the absence of proper diagnosis will be inappropriate and a waste of time. More seriously, in very rare cases, vertigo may be an early symptom of brain tumor and this need to be born in mind.

If you are worried about recurring dizziness or vertigo and have any questions I would be more than happy to give you help and advice where possible..


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by lovetheocean, May 24, 2014
I started having symptoms of Vertigo about 8 months ago.  I had it many years ago and it turned out to be due to medication that I was taking.  At the time I only was taking 2 meds and one I had been on for a long time and the other one was a lot newer so after having a cat scan of my brain which turned out fine the doctor took me off the newer med and within two weeks the Vertigo disappeared.

Now all these years later I started having it again.  My Oncologist ordered an MRI of my brain and again it was normal.  I am on a lot of medications which are ones that I can't stop taking.  I went to an ENT doctor in my area who recently opened up a Vertigo clinic.  After going through several hours of testing I was diagnosed with  Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo and was sent to a PT in his clinic that specializes in the treatment of it.  I went numerous times for treatment and it seemed to get a bit better, but is still not gone.  The PT also taught me how to do it at home, but I don't feel as secure doing it on my own since she holds my head when she does it.  Just frustrating.  It seems when I lay down (especially on my right side which I sleep on) I start to get it.  It is very quick and it goes away.  At times when I have been laying down and start to get up I will get it then.  I can't help, but wonder if it could be due to one of my many medications.  As I stated above none of these are any that I can stop taking.  Just wondering what your thoughts are.  

Thank you.  

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by Andrew John Rynne, MDBlank, May 25, 2014
Without your mentioning the names of any of the drugs that you are on it is not possible for me to throw much additional light on your dizzy spells. However, it seems to me that your have been to the best doctors around. If they feel that your vertigo is positional, and it certainly sounds like that, then I would run with this diagnosis. You are not likely to be able to permanently rid yourself of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. With the help of your PT however, you may be able to get long remissions and better control. You are in good hands. Good luck.

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