Vertigo

Vertigo occurs because of the imbalance in the inner ear that maintains balance of the body. It is a condition, in which the person feels that everything around him/her is moving. Although these sensations aren’t happening in reality, one may have a strong feeling of nausea and, sometimes, may vomit severely. The problem may develop suddenly and may last for few seconds or more than that, and in some cases, it may last for many days. The attacks may become so difficult to deal with that sometimes the person can barely walk or stand properly. If the attack is not very serious, it will disappear on its own or with the treatment for an underlying cause.

Causes

  • An infection of the vestibular apparatus is a common cause of vertigo. The infection begins as a viral infection, such as common cold or influenza or, rarely, a bacterial infection of the middle ear. This type of vertigo usually starts suddenly and disappears within a couple of weeks.
  • Another common cause is arthritis in the neck. When the head is tilted or turned, the supply of blood to the parts of the brain, which maintain balance of the body, is reduced and results in vertigo.
  • Frequent attacks along with hearing loss and sounds in both or one ear can be a result of Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear.
  • Sometimes, calcified material moving around in the inner ear may cause dizziness when the head is moved. However, the condition generally improves over few weeks.
  • Certain antibiotics, food poisoning, excessive alcohol consumption, and heatstroke may also trigger vertigo.
  • A tumour affecting the nerve, which connects the inner ear and the brain, may cause vertigo. However, this does not happen frequently. Some other rare incidents responsible for vertigo include stroke, multiple sclerosis, and head injury.

Self-help

  1. Don’t make sudden movement. Ideally, you should lie down still and straight.
  2. Keep yourself hydrated, especially if you’ve been vomiting.
  3. Seek medical guidance if the vertigo continues for more than few minutes or you have frequent attacks.

Treatment
Ears, eye movements, and nervous system will be checked to identify the cause. A neck X-ray may be done to check the presence of cervical spondylosis. The tests may also include caloric test, which checks the function of the vestibular apparatus. If you have tinnitus, you may also have to undergo CT scanning or MRI. Theses tests are necessary to find out whether a tumour is exerting pressure on the brain or not. Treatment depends upon the underlying cause responsible for vertigo. For example, when it is due to an antibiotic, the doctor may shift you to another drug. If a bacterial infection is responsible for damaged vestibular apparatus, antibiotics will be used to relieve the symptoms of vertigo.

If your heart beats 70 times per minute then by the time you are 70 years old, your heart beat count would be two and a half billion. It will pump around 48 million gallons of blood... phew! No wonder it is the most efficient organ in the body.