Causes of dizziness
Any number of conditions can lead to problems with dizziness and loss of balance. Among them are Ménière’s disease, migraines, and BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) as well as blood pressure, medications and head injuries.
Along with dizziness, symptoms of Ménière’s disease range from ringing in the ear to a sensation of fullness to temporary hearing loss. Diagnosis can be difficult because the symptoms of Ménière’s disease can point to other medical conditions as well. You will likely need to go through a battery of tests to rule out other conditions and definitively diagnose Ménière’s. Although there is as yet no cure for Ménière’s disease, there are medications that alleviate the symptoms.
Vertigo, or that sensation of spinning when you’re standing still, is not just a feeling some people experience when looking down from a height. Other symptoms include nausea and distinctive eye movements. BPPV is caused by a problem in which canaliths, or small particles of calcium, become dislodged in the vestibular labyrinth. The signals between your ear and brain that help you keep your balance as you move are disrupted. Fortunately, there is a simple procedure that usually restores canaliths to their proper position and your sense of balance returns.
Chronic or recurrent migraine is a newly identified common cause of dizziness, and can occur with or without head pain. It typically is not associated with hearing loss but can have ear fullness, ringing, and ear pain that can mimic other conditions such as Ménière’s disease. This condition should be a diagnosis of exclusion after more serious conditions have been ruled out. The first line of treatment is often diet and lifestyle changes (cessation of caffeine, chocolate, with less sodium and dairy), and medications may also be required and can be very helpful in treating this condition.
Blood pressure and certain medications are also known to affect balance. These causes will be evaluated as your doctor seeks to diagnose the cause of your dizziness. Of course, you could be dealing with more than a single cause, so be sure to provide a full medical history to your ENT doctor.