Most Common Balance Disorders
Balance disorders are conditions that make you feel dizzy or unsteady. There are different ways these feelings come on. If you’re sitting, you might feel like the room is spinning or you are floating. If you’re standing or walking, you might feel like you’re tipping over. Health conditions, medications, or a problem in the inner ear or brain are all potential causes of balance disorders. Here is a look at the most common balance disorders.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a balance disorder that comes about when you move your head in specific ways. You’ll feel a sense of vertigo or dizziness when this happens. The most common “problem motions” are getting out of bed and turning over in bed. Some also feel symptoms when they try to look up, but the symptoms vary and come and go.
The disorder is caused by small crystals that break loose from their correct position in your inner ear. When you move your head, the crystals send false signals about how you are moving. BPPV is usually treated by attempting to move the crystals back to their correct position with a particle-repositioning maneuver. Sometimes this happens in a clinical setting, and other times, doctors will prescribe exercises as at-home remedies.
Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection. The labyrinth deep in your inner ear becomes inflamed, which affects your hearing and balance. There aren’t any specific tests that diagnose labyrinthitis, but an excellent complete history taken by a specialist may lead to a test battery that rules out other diagnoses or illnesses. Usually, ENTs will prescribe medications to treat symptoms, but inner ear infections typically don’t cause permanent damage. However, loss of hearing or damage to the vestibular system occurs in severe cases. If symptoms persist, your doctor will prescribe vestibular rehab exercises to help your brain adjust to the imbalance. You should also keep moving even when symptoms occur to work through this. Vestibular neuritis (neuronitis) is where people suffer from the balance symptoms of labyrinthitis but not hearing loss. However, people often use both terms to describe the same diagnosis.
Meniere’s disease is a relatively rare inner ear disorder. Along with vertigo and hearing loss, you could also experience a feeling of pressure in your ear. The correct term for this disorder is ‘Endolymphatic Hydrops, and it means there is an increase of pressure in the Endolymphatic system of the inner ear and labyrinth. The diagnosing of this disorder is the same as it is for labyrinthitis. Medications are prescribed to treat symptoms. Usually, Meniere’s disease only affects one ear, but there are reports of bilateral symptoms. Without treatment, symptoms might ‘burn out,’ but this could take years and leaves no useful hearing or balance functions on the affected side.
There are other balance disorders, but these are the most common. If you feel like you might be suffering from one of these balance disorders or a different one, call East Texas Sinus in Longview, TX today. Our experts will get you through your symptoms and back to normal.