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.
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.
From The Finder (Issue 283), June 2017
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