Vertigo is an unpleasant disorder where the sufferer experiences a feeling of giddiness and spinning. Often the room will appear to spin around them if they move their head in a certain way. There are many causes and the symptom may well be part of a more complex disorder, but the commonest cause is a disorder affecting the middle ear.
The middle ear has sensitive mechanisms, which are involved with the control of balance. Infections, poor blood flow or obstructions can all upset these mechanisms, as can damage to the nerve supplying the middle ear.
One common problem, which can occur in older people with arthritis of the neck, is a fall in blood pressure associated with certain neck movements. The vertebral arteries in the neck run through a canal either side in the neck bones themselves, and in osteoarthritis, the bones are closer together than they should be with often bony outgrowths resulting from wear and tear. This combination causes a restriction on the space that the artery can run through.
Acute vertigo with nausea and no obvious sign of recent or current ear problems is usually viral in origin. Where there are other symptoms such as deafness, tinnitus etc; there is usually other underlying damage to the ear.
Symptoms, which include slurred speech, may be as a result of a stroke, and those that include other neurological signs must be fully investigated by brain scan to exclude conditions such as a tumor.
Most incidences of vertigo will respond quickly without treatment. In some cases specific drugs such as Stemetil, can be used to relieve both the symptoms of dizziness and nausea.
It is often necessary to have bed rest in the early stages as any movement of the head can aggravate the problem, and if it does not settle fairly quickly or you keep having recurrent episodes, you must seek medical advice.
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