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Feeling Dizzy? Here’s Why You Should Seriously Worry About It.

Why do I always feel like the room is spinning around me?

This sensation is known as vertigo, and is typically a sign of an ear-related issue. It can restrict your lifestyle, as bouts of vertigo are often unpredictable and may increase your risk of accidents or falls. 

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What are some of its causes?

– Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): Fifty percent of middle-aged adults experience it. In younger patients, it usually happens after infections or a head injury. BPPV is often characterised by a brief but intense spinning when the position of your head changes.

– Infections: These are common in your inner or middle ear.

– Meniere’s disease: In addition to spinning, you might experience hearing loss or a ringing in your ear.

– Leaking of inner ear fluid: This may happen if you’re diving, or suffering from a head injury or physical exertion.

– Mal de Debarquement syndrome: This is a feeling of continuous bobbing after sea travel. 

How is vertigo diagnosed and treated?

An ENT doctor will need to test for positional vertigo in all three semi-circular ear canals and measure neck-to-spine and neck-to-brain blood circulation and blood pressure changes when you’re lying and standing.

Other tests include videonystagmography (VNG) testing, which document a person’s ability to follow visual objects with their eyes; Head Impulse Test (HIT), which detects abnormalities in the semi-circular ear canals; or the Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP), which is designed to determine the functions of the inner ear’s sensory organs.

Treatment is usually in the form of oral anti-vertigo and anti-nausea medications, or through rehabilitation therapy and surgery for debilitating cases. 

Lynne Lim Ear Nose Throat & Hearing Centre
#17-07 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, 3 Mount Elizabeth, Singapore 228510
Tel: 6737 7787

From The Finder (Issue 283), June 2017

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