April 14, 2020
Dizziness is general term describing light headedness, a floating sensation, or faintness. It is a very common complaint among the general population, affecting around 15-20% of adults each year. Women are generally more affected than men and our risk of experiencing dizziness increases with age. While there can be many causes for dizziness including metabolic disorders, cardiac issues, head injuries etc, a common cause of dizziness can be caused by damage or dysfunction of the vestibular system which is reported to account for 25% of dizziness complaints.
Our balance is controlled by our visual (eyes), proprioceptive (muscle and joints) and vestibular system (inner ear). Sensory information produced by these three systems are integrated and processed by the brain and feedback is sent to the eyes to help maintain steady vision and to the muscles to help maintain posture and balance
The vestibular system is primarily responsible for responsible for maintaining our balance, stability and spatial orientation.The vestibular system also has a key role in the control and stabilisation of our vision so that we can see objects clearly particularly when we are moving our head simultaneously.
When the vestibular portion of our balance system becomes damaged, it can produce several distinct disorders characterised by vertigo which is where people feel that either themselves or their environment is moving or spinning, imbalance, feelings of nausea or vomiting, difficulty concentrating and disturbances in our vision.
A simple way to help you identify if you may be suffering from dizziness of vertigo is to ask yourself the following questions
· Do I feel unsteady?
· Do I lose my balance and fall?
· Do I feel as if I’m falling?
· Do I feel as if the room is spinning around me?
· Do I get dizzy when I lay down or turn over in bed?
· Do I feel as if I’m moving when I know I’m sitting or standing still?
· Do I have blurred vision?
· Do I ever feel disoriented, such as losing my sense of time or where I am?
In this series of blog posts, we will take a closer look at some of the most common vestibular related disorders and how they can be treated.