Vertigo is one of those conditions that we have to worry about as we get older. It’s been estimated that about 20 million Americans suffer from vertigo; it’s more common in people over the age of 50 and twice as common in women than in men. What many don’t realize is that 40% of people over 40 experience vertigo at least once.
According to the National Dizzy and Balance Center, about 12.5 million Americans over the age of 65 have a dizziness or balance disorder. It’s also thought that up to 70% of Americans will experience vertigo, dizziness, or balance problems at some point in their lives.
What is vertigo?
Vertigo is a sensation of dizziness that can last a few hours or even a few days. It feels as though you or your environment is moving or spinning, even though you are standing still. People who experience vertigo can easily lose their balance, putting themselves at a higher risk of falling – a serious concern for our seniors. Vertigo is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.
What causes vertigo?
Vertigo is usually caused by problems with the inner ear or the brain. If the problem is in the inner ear, it is referred to as peripheral vertigo, and if the problem is in the brain it is called central vertigo.
Vertigo has several common causes:
BPPV: Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common type. It might be caused by moving the head suddenly or moving the head in a specific direction. This is one type that is twice as common in women as it is in men and it affects older people most often.
Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis: This is an inflammation of the inner ear, which is often related to infection. The symptoms can last until the inflammation goes down.
Meniere’s disease:The three main symptoms of this disease include episodes of vertigo, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss.
What are the risk factors?
Vertigo is often a symptom of other conditions. Peripheral vertigo, for example, can be brought on by infection, reduced blood flow, or a head or neck injury. Migraines, stroke, excessive exposure to alcohol, epilepsy and several other conditions can increase your chance of getting central vertigo. Antidepressants, some blood pressure and anti-seizure medications, and even aspirin have been associated with vertigo. It can also be brought on by behaviors such as smoking and consuming too much caffeine, and can be triggered by lack of sleep, fatigue, and stress.
It’s important to note that vertigo can happen to anyone of any age, and at any time. For those over the age of 50, it’s especially important to find relief from the symptoms vertigo can present in order to limit one’s risk of falling. Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among people over 65, and they account for 50% of accidental deaths in the elderly.
What are the symptoms?
An episode of vertigo can include the sensation of spinning, swaying, tilting, being unbalanced, or pulled to one direction. Other symptoms include nausea, headache, sweating, strange or jerking eye movements, ringing in the ears, or hearing loss.
What are the treatments?
The treatment depends on the cause. Some treatment may include vestibular rehabilitation to strengthen the vestibular system. Medicines can help relieve nausea and motion sickness, and if the vertigo is caused by inflammation or an infection, antibiotics or steroids can help.
There are also natural treatments and solutions. It’s recommended to get enough sleep; a lack of sleep may worsen vertigo symptoms. It’s also a good idea to drink a lot of fluids and avoid substances like caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, which can affect your circulation.
Many people also find relief with natural remedies such as DiVertigo. An all-natural, highly concentrated oil that is applied behind the ear lobes to relieve symptoms in as little as five minutes.
Recognize and cope with vertigo
If you or someone you know suffers from the symptoms of vertigo, be sure that a visit to the doctor is scheduled. He or she can help pinpoint the type of vertigo that is present and can also assist in recommending effective treatment options. Vertigo may go away on its own, but if it doesn’t there are various treatments that can alleviate your symptoms. Don’t let vertigo prevent you from living your life to the fullest!