What do you really know about vertigo?
When you hear the word vertigo, what do you think of? Is it the classic Alfred Hitchcock film? A mid-aughts U2 song? Or are you one of the near-100 million Americans who seek medical care for the condition that includes feelings of dizziness, imbalance, nausea, and vomiting.
According to the University of San Francisco Health, nearly 40% of adults in the United States report having vertigo at least some time in their lives, with women more likely to experience the condition than men.
Yet, despite it being such a common occurrence for so many, what do you think you really know about vertigo?
At Colorado Ear Care, we’ve used our decades of experience in treating thousands of patients from the greater Denver area to design a hearing care practice that is devoted to helping people with a variety of ear-related conditions, including hearing loss, tinnitus, and dizziness and balance.
Today, we’re here to help you and your loved ones better understand vertigo — its causes, its symptoms, its methods for treatment, and strategies to help you live a happier, healthier, and more normal way of life despite how disruptive vertigo can be.
In order to best inform you, we’ve gathered some of the most commonly asked questions we hear in our practice, as well as those we receive online so you can feel more confident in taking action on getting the testing and treatment you deserve to move beyond your vertigo.
Why do I have vertigo?
In some cases, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of vertigo, whereas in others, it’s easier for experts to detect why a person has vertigo.
Some causes of vertigo are neurological in nature, and include multiple sclerosis, strokes, migraines, and even brain tumors.
Those causes that are non-neurological can include conditions such as diabetes, prescription medications, panic or anxiety attacks, hyperventilation, and hypotension, the latter relating to the sensation that can sometimes occur when you feel dizzy from standing up too quickly.
Some of the primary causes for vertigo that we treat at Colorado Ear Care include Meniere’s Disease and, most commonly, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (also referred to as BPPV).
What is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo?
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, of BPPV, is perhaps the most common form of vertigo that a person will experience.
It can most easily be described as the sudden sensation of spinning. This, of course, can make you feel incredibly dizzy. Usually, it’s triggered by your movements, either head movements, but often even body movements will cause feelings of dizziness.
Turning your head, getting up quick from bed, rolling over — these can all cause feelings of BPPV.
Typically, these bouts of dizziness will only last a less than a minute, but they can last much longer in some instances.
Although the feelings associated with BPPV can be quite unsettling, they’re not usually a sign of a serious problem. Of course, those experiencing BPPV might be at a greater risk of falling, the good news is that BPPV is typically treatable.
Often, BPPV can be found in conjunction with someone who has experienced head trauma, but even those who have not suffered a blow to the head might be subject to the symptoms of vertigo due to some common, but often solvable problems happening in the inner ear.
What caused my BPPV?
Our ears are responsible for so much more than just hearing. In fact, there are organs inside of our ears that help us stay balanced and understand spatial relationships.
Tiny organs in our ears, called otolith organs, contain even tinier crystals that, when they unexpectedly come dislodged and move into another part of our ears, will make us feel incredibly dizzy when we move in certain ways.
How is vertigo diagnosed and treated?
The best way to get an expert diagnosis for BPPV and other forms of vertigo is by seeing an expert who specializes in these conditions.
At Colorado Ear Care, we pride ourselves in being a hearing care provider that focuses on the entire ear.
We make it a point to get to know you as well as possible so that we provide you with comprehensive testing and treatment recommendations that are based on your lifestyle, your description of experiences with vertigo, dizziness, and balance, in addition to the test results we’ve gathered through our work with you. This helps us tailor our treatment plan specifically to you and your needs.
Luckily, for most folks who experience BPPV, it can be treated without any need for medication or any sort of surgical intervention.
The technique we most commonly use is one called Canalith Repositioning. This technique, which has been in practice for a quarter century, consists of simple, slow, and careful movements of your head.
These movements are done to move the crystals that have moved out of the otolith organs back into the area where they belong, so they can be reabsorbed by the body.
You’ll likely need a series of these treatments, but should feel improvements after just the first session with your provider.
The first step in finally feeling relief from your feelings of vertigo? Contacting Colorado Ear Care, so you can book your appointment! Our team is dedicated to your care, and has the experience you need to live a happier life free from dizziness. Contact us today!