Four out of ten Americans have felt dizziness in their life, strong enough that they had to go to the doctor’s. It is described as off balance condition where a person can have a feeling that everything’s spinning around them. The one doesn’t have to move, it can be present even while lying on the bed. It can be pretty disturbing since it can prevent everyday life and usual activity. A balance disorder is not a disease by itself. It can be a sign of a brain damage or inner ear problems. It is important to investigate the root of the problem in order to solve it effectively.
Possible Causes Of Balance Disorder
A person can be off balance usually if there is an event going on in his brain or inner ear. It is important to know the anatomy of the ear in order to understand balance center. The ear doesn’t have a role only for hearing, but also for balance. A certain part of the ear called labyrinth is a shell-like shaped bone structure which has a system made out of three semicircular canals and otolithic organs which are in charge of our balance. The other part of the ear called cochlea is the part which allows us to hear. The system which is responsible for balance is called vestibular system.
The semicircular canals are filled with some kind of liquid which detects the mechanical movement due to gravity and sends the signals to the brain, telling that we are moving. It detects the circular and rotating movement and we are aware of our head going up and down or left and right.
Between the semicircular canals and the cochlea are two otolithic organs called utricle and saccule. The lining of these organs have cells that are like hairs called stereocilia. This layer moves with the gravity and the movement of the hair sends the stimulus to the organs which result in a signal sending to the brain. When any of these organs is damaged, it results in an imbalance.
Disorders Affecting The Ear
If you are experiencing dizziness, vertigo, nausea, it can be due to an inner ear infection or other events inside the labyrinth.
Inner Ear Infection or Labyrinthitis
When one of the two vestibular nerves inside the ear gets inflamed, it causes a condition called labyrinthitis. It can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, loss of hearing, buzzing inside the ear, difficulty of focusing, loss of balance. It can progress from respiratory disease, stomach virus, herpes virus, bacteria infection. It is treated with a couple of medicines such as antihistamines like desloratadine (Clarinex) or loratadine (Claritin). Also, you can take something for nausea meclozine (Antivert). A doctor can prescribe also some sedatives such as diazepam and corticosteroids like prednisone.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
This type of vertigo is one of the most common causes that can provoke sudden dizziness and nausea. It can happen when you move and tilt your head down or up, sit in your bed or when you lie down. Benign stands for not being a serious disease, paroxysmal means that it comes sudden, positional means that it’s being triggered by certain movement and vertigo presents itself like a rotational movement. If some of the calcium carbonate crystals that are normally in the cilia gel dislocate or move to a different area of the semicircular canal, it can send false signals to the brain causing vertigo sensation even if it’s not happening. There is no certain evidence that this disease should be treated with medications, although some of the people receive therapy. Some of the patients undergo a surgery. There is one maneuver that it’s being used for this condition which is called Epley maneuver. It does not give successful recovery for all of the patients. There are many cases which show that it didn’t work for all of them.
Fistula stands for pathological connection between two ends of organs. Perilymph fistula comes from the inner ear to the middle ear causing lymph leakage. Patients suffering from perilymph fistula have reported that the pressure from an elevator or a plane flying can cause amplification of the symptoms which include fullness inside the ear, motion intolerance, dizziness. It is advised to stay away from physical activity for 7-14 days. If the changes don’t calm down, a surgery can be an option.
Brain Damage Causing Loss of Balance
There’s a high risk of brain damage or even inner ear disturbance if a person gets bumped in the head. It can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness. It is important to diagnose it right in order to discover any fracture if it’s present.
Infection can affect all parts of the brain including diseases like encephalitis, meningitis, brain abscesses. It can get serious if not treated the right way. A person can have a fever, vomiting, certain characteristics that are known as positive Babinski reflex, Kernig’s sign or Brudzinski’s sign. They are all seen in meningitis and can be easily diagnosed. Bacteria meningitis is treated with antibiotics and corticosteroids while viral ones are usually treated with antiviral meds if available, corticosteroids, rest, and plenty of fluids.
Diseases Followed Up With Arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis causes arteries to narrow and harden. As a result, the tissue that receives blood supply from that vessels doesn’t get enough nutrients and can lead to dizziness and nausea. If the brain doesn’t get enough blood it can get damaged and lead to tissue destruction. This is the way the stroke happens. It can be also associated with loss of hearing, difficulty in talking and walking. It is usually treated with surgery.
Low blood pressure can cause dizziness and sudden faith. It can be a result of many conditions, from dehydration to hypothyroidism, bleeding or some infections. It is being considered low pressure when it’s below 90/60 mmHg. It is important to find the cause and treat it. There are a few things that you can do to raise the pressure. Drink more fluid, eat salty food in order to keep your pressure high. You can also wear tight stockings since it can help with blood pooling in the veins in the legs. There are a few drugs that can be used to treat this kind of condition. Some of them are fludrocortisone or midodrine (Orvaten). It stops the vessel from vasodilatation and by preventing it, it raises the blood pressure.
Some medications can have a side effect that can cause loss of balance, dizziness, nausea or vomiting. Some of these drugs are the ones used for high blood pressure, sedatives, antihistamines. They can be dangerous if a person is planning to drive a vehicle, there is a certain danger of faint and losing control.