Dizziness and vertigo are symptoms of a vestibular balance disorder. Balance disorders can strike at any age, but are most common as people age.
Your ear is a complex system of bone and cartilage. Within it is a network of canals. These are called semicircular canals. There are also fluid-filled pouches. These are called the otolithic organs. These structures contribute to your sense of balance. Part of this system includes the cochlea. This is a spiral structure that also helps you hear. All of these delicate pieces make up the vestibular system.
Certain things can affect the signals from any of the parts of the vestibular system causing symptoms.
Common causes of vestibular balance disorders include:
The symptoms of a vestibular balance disorder include:
Less common symptoms include:
You may need to work with an ear, nose, and throat specialist. This type of doctor is called an otolaryngologist or ENT. Dizziness and lightheadedness can be caused by many conditions. Part of the diagnosis could involve ruling out other causes. The diagnosis may involve the following:
Treatment will depend on the cause of your balance disorder and may include:
Possible complications include:
The symptoms of vestibular balance disorder can interfere with regular daily activities and your ability to drive, work, or enjoy recreation activities. This can cause symptoms of depression and frustration. Counseling can help you learn to cope with the disorder and life style impacts.
Feeling lightheaded or dizzy occasionally happens to most people. If these sensations are frequent and affect your quality of life, contact your health care provider.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
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