Published At 2022-11-11
By Dr. Riffat Sadiq
Have you ever felt unexplained dizziness or unsteadiness? Are these symptoms accompanied by feelings of disorientation (vertigo) or nausea? You could be suffering from a vestibular, or balance, disorder. The vestibular system coordinates with many other nervous system components, so any issues with this system can set off problems with vision, cognition, or muscle movement. Vestibular disorder symptoms typically occur in episodes that vary in frequency, duration, and severity. Some patients have headaches, muscle aches, and increased sensitivity to noise and light. Some report feeling fatigued, distracted, or irritable. Difficulty with speech or reading may occur. While balance disorders can strike at any age, they occur more frequently with age. The cause often originates in the inner ear.
One large epidemiological study estimates that as many as 35% adults aged 40 years or older in the United States - approximately 69 million Americans - have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction.
The most important part of a medical evaluation for a vestibular disorder is your description of the symptoms. For example, how long and how often have you had the problem? Is it triggered by movement or by arising from a sitting or lying position? Is the problem associated with other symptoms such as hearing loss, ringing of the ears, nausea or vomiting? Have there been any general health changes, new medications, recent head trauma, or recent or current infections?
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P.S. Dizziness/vertigo is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor