Vertigo and Balance Issues

Most of us have had that moment when we stand up too fast and the whole world seems to tip on its side. Sometimes it can be related to blood pressure, sometimes its hunger or dehydration, and sometimes it’s just the heat of summer. In fact, 70% of the population will experience dizziness at some point in their lives. But for 40% of people, that dizziness will force them to seek the help of a doctor.

If you find yourself getting dizzy or losing your balance on a regular basis, it would be best to seek professional help as soon as possible. You might have something called a Vestibular Disorder. This is a broad term used to describe several conditions including Meniere ’s disease, vestibular migraine, vestibular neuritis, and the most common condition, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

Unfortunately, 59% of people are misdiagnosed, 41% of which are not even diagnosed with a Vestibular Disorder. Those who do finally get a diagnosis have to wait until they see their fifth medical professional, or longer. A big contributing factor in this is that many patients cannot adequately describe their symptoms. They confuse terms like dizziness and vertigo because they do not know the true definitions of the terms.

If you are having balance issues, take note of these three terms:

Dizziness – a sensation of lightheadedness, faintness, or unsteadiness.

Vertigo – a rotational, spinning component, and is the perception of movement, either of the self or surrounding area.

Disequilibrium – unsteadiness, imbalance, or loss of equilibrium that is often accompanied by special disorientation.

If you are suffering from balance issues and you don’t know why, it is best to make an appointment with your physician. In some cases, a couple of weeks of medication can clear the whole thing up. But beware of taking this medication long term, it can have many side effects and it can incapacitate the brains ability to adapt in order to reduce the effects of your disorder. It can also cause secondary conditions, such as decreased strength, loss of range of motion, fatigue, and depression. 

If your condition is becoming chronic, Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) might be the answer. This is an exercise-based program focused on decreasing symptoms, improving balance and walking ability, and increasing general activity. For more information about VRT, check out this month’s newsletter or contact the clinic.