Truth is, when you have vertigo, life stops - Oliver Adunka
image by: Atlas Brain & Spine
In the American sitcom Arrested Development, Liza Minnelli plays Lucille Austero, a wealthy widow with chronic vertigo. Across four seasons, the condition became a regular source of jokes as she’s hit by the spins and shown taking tumbles for big laughs. It’s played like physical comedy—slow-motion slapstick with a medical origin.
As a teenager, I was obsessed with Minnelli’s character. I used her exaggerated “I’m okay” to garner (no) sympathy from my dad when pulling myself off the couch after too many hours of lounging. Over ten years have passed and I still giggle when I re-watch episodes, though my 54-year-old father, Kevin, now suffers from vertigo.
His world started spinning…
The causes of vertigo may be central (involving the brainstem or cerebellum) or peripheral (involving the inner ear). A careful history and physical examination can distinguish between these causes. The most common causes of vertigo seen in primary care are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuronitis (VN) and Ménière’s disease.
Finding vertigo’s true cause can be frustrating, sometimes even impossible. It’s a symptom of many things: BPPV, labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis, secondary hydrops, perilymph fistula, or none of these; the root of vertigo could also be genetic or environmental. Some in the field describe migraine-related vertigo as “the great mimicker” for its ability to imitate other conditions.
It comes on suddenly. You feel like you're spinning—or maybe the world is spinning around you. Your stomach heaves, and you hold onto something so you don't fall. This is vertigo, a hallucination of motion—a mismatch between reality and the signals your eyes, inner ears, and sense of touch are sending your brain. Vertigo is a symptom, not a disease—an indication that something is wrong in the body—and it's surprisingly common.
Significant advancements have occurred in the field of vestibular medicine (specialty dealing with the symptoms of dizziness and vertigo) over the past 20 years. BalanceMD, led by Dr. Scott K Sanders, has the most up-to-date diagnostic technology and knowledge to help you with your symptoms.
Dizziness is the sensation of instability. Vertigo refers to dizziness with a sensation of motion. Vertigo is more likely than other types of dizziness to be associated with nausea, vomiting, or double vision, to occur even when lying down, and to feel better with the eyes closed. If you are a frequent sufferer of dizziness or vertigo, join the group and find support.
Whirled Foundation was born in the lounge room of one Menieres disease sufferer who wanted to make a difference. Today it has evolved into a national organisation with international links focusing on helping all with vestibular disorders.
During an evaluation for vertigo, the health care professional may obtain a full history of the events and symptoms. This includes medications that have been taken (even over-the-counter medications), recent illnesses, and prior medical problems (if any). Even seemingly unrelated problems may provide a clue as to the underlying cause of the vertigo.
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