Treatment depends on the type of dizziness you have, which is why the right testing is so important.

Understanding and Treating Balance Issues, Dizziness, and Vertigo

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Balance, Patient Resources

Dizziness is the sensation of being unbalanced. As one of the most prevalent health issues in the United States, it affects more than 9 million people each year. For people over the age of 70, it’s the most common cause for going to the doctor.

North Houston Hearing Solutions is a one-of-a-kind balance center that will help you regain control of your life by restoring your sense of balance. We specialize in treating patients with dizziness and balance-related issues.

We evaluate every aspect of your auditory and medical health that might be causing the balance issues, then provide solutions and treatment options that fit your lifestyle. We are committed to your recovery and will do what it takes to get you better.

Balance Disorders

If you have a balance disorder, you might feel like you can’t stand upright or you’re tipping over or about to fall. You might even feel like your body is moving, even though it isn’t, or that you’re spinning or floating – even when you’re standing still.

These sensations, which can include lightheadedness, feeling faint or like you’re floating, or feeling that your eyes are moving too fast, are all common symptoms. Other signs include a sense of nausea, altered heartbeat and blood pressure, and a sense of dread or panic.

As people become older, they are more likely to have balance problems.

Feel like you’re losing your balance frequently? Schedule a consultation with a balance specialist.

Is Vertigo a Catch-All Word for Dizziness Issues?

While the term “vertigo” is not synonymous with all types of dizziness, certain words are frequently linked to the description of various sorts of dizziness.

A vestibular disease is characterized by a sensation of spinning and the sense that your eyes are rapidly snapping or jerking to and fro (nystagmus) and that the environment is shifting. Patients with vestibular disease frequently compare the sensation to that of motion sickness, describing feelings of imbalance like falling or leaning to one side.

Dizziness associated with vestibular causes is more likely to include symptoms like nausea and vomiting or auditory or neurologic symptoms.

Those who suffer from nonvestibular dizziness often report a spinning sensation in their head; they do not have nystagmus and so are unable to detect the movement of the surroundings.

For most people, nonvestibular dizziness is the most common explanation for their dizziness. Patients who describe their problems using terms such as “lightheadedness,” “swimming,” or “giddiness” are more than twice as likely to have a nonvestibular cause of dizziness.

Nonvestibular dizziness can be exacerbated by visual field targets moving. This is frequently apparent in individuals who report dizziness brought on by particular activities, such as driving in heavy traffic or shopping in a crowded market.

Psychophysiologic dizziness – The sensation that you have departed your body is associated with psychophysiological dizziness, which can be episodic rather than a continuous problem, like acute vertigo.

What Causes Dizziness?

To maintain your equilibrium, the different organs, senses, and systems in your body must work together and then send that information to the brain – the core processing center for all balance information. Vision, touch, joints, and the balance portion of the inner ear are all sources of input.

The brain’s interactions with nerve impulses from the inner ear, eye, neck muscles, joints, and limbs keep it in balance. If any of these message pathways are disrupted – which could be the result of any number of disorders – you may feel dizzy or unsteady.

If you move your head or arms suddenly, or if you breathe too fast, it may generate the feeling of spinning, or leave you feeling weak or faint.

Dizziness can be caused by any number of medical issues, such as low or high blood pressure, a low iron count, diabetes or thyroid disease, heart conditions, infections, head trauma, neurological diseases, or the effect of several medications.

Dehydration, heat-related illnesses, and hyperventilation can also cause dizziness.

The following are a few of the most common causes:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a type of vertigo that occurs when tiny minerals in the inner ear move out of their preferred position to the semicircular canals.
  • Meniere’s disease can cause the cochlea to become inflamed, along with filling up the inner ear with an abnormal amount of fluid. The dizziness intensifies in severity for a few minutes at a time but lasts for hours or days, with a slow recovery period.
  • Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear that usually originates from an infection or virus. Intermittent episodes of vertigo, sometimes lasting for several hours at a time, are typical signs of vestibular neuronitis and labyrinthitis. Over the next few days, there is usually a swift recovery from the acute phase followed by periods of little or no vertigo, although residual effects can last over 12 to 18 months.
  • Migraines can cause episodes of vertigo that starts suddenly and lasts for a few minutes is usually caused by a problem with the blood vessels, such as vertebrobasilar insufficiency.

Diagnosing Vertigo

Dizziness is a difficult complaint to evaluate because it is a subjective experience that cannot be quantified directly or objectively. The treatment varies considerably depending on the type of dizziness you have, which is why the right testing is so important.

Once we get a detailed account of how your dizziness feels, how often it happens, how long the dizzy spells last, and what might trigger one, and we review your medical history, we have a better idea of the kinds of tests needed to get an accurate diagnosis.

When testing, we test all your balance canals and inner ear organs to give you the most comprehensive vestibular system examination possible. Once completed, you receive a personalized results evaluation and a balanced treatment program tailored for you.

How Are Balance Disorders Treated?

A treatment plan will focus on the underlying condition to reduce or eliminate symptoms. Treatment options could include some of the following:

  • Hearing loss treatment
  • Movement training – exercises to help you reposition your body
  • Vestibular retraining programs – exercises and activities specifically designed to improve your symptoms
  • Medications, such as antibiotics or steroids
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Surgery
  • Lifestyle modifications, such as quitting alcohol and cigarettes

Find Help for Your Dizziness in North Houston

‍If you have been experiencing any type of dizziness, fainting spells, or balance issues, book a consultation with our vestibular specialist. We welcome patients and self-referrals, as well as referrals from current patients.

At our clinic, we pride ourselves on being able to provide comprehensive and individualized care for patients of all ages, including pediatrics. You won’t have to waste time visiting different specialists or going through multiple therapies because we will figure out what you need and how to best help your balance issues.

If you also have hearing challenges, book your hearing test with us, and feel free to call us at 281-444-9800 if you have any questions at all about hearing care. We look forward to helping you.

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Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry in 2003, and earned her Doctorate of Audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a preferred provider for the American Institute of Balance (ABI), a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA) and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association. In addition to her years of experience identifying, diagnosing and treating all types and degrees of hearing loss, and vestibular disorders, Dr. Brooks has spent the last 13 years becoming an expert in Tinnitus management and therapy. Dr. Brooks is also one of the few providers in the country certified for Lyric Implantable Devices. For over seven years, Dr. Brooks successfully ran and operated more than six audiology clinics for one of the largest practices in the state of Texas before joining the North Houston Hearing Solutions team in 2016. Dr. Brooks prides herself on providing her patients with the highest quality of care. She loves her patients dearly and feels so fortunate that she gets to help improve their daily lives. This love, combined with her impressive skill set, business experience and passion for helping people hear has made Dr. Lacey Brooks a wonderful addition to the North Houston Hearing Solutions’ team. When not at the office, Dr. Brooks enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, family, and friends. Dr. Brooks is also very involved in her church and with mission work in her community and abroad.

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