Dizziness (Vertigo)

Whether getting up in the morning, stooping or on a long drive: Dizziness (vertigo) is a complex phenomenon that can occur in a variety of situations. Frequently, dizziness is accompanied by accompanying symptoms such as headache, nausea or ear noises. The duration as well as the type of dizziness - rotary swindle or Schwankschwindel - can provide already some initial indications on the cause of the complaints. Prof. Dr. med. In an interview, Michael Strupp presents various causes of dizziness in more detail and gives tips for correct treatment.

What is dizziness?

About ten percent of all patients who visit their family doctor are struggling with dizziness. Since dizziness is more common with increasing age, the percentage of those who often suffer from dizziness is relatively high, especially in the elderly. Around 30 percent of people over the age of 65 regularly become dizzy.

Dizziness is a sham movement between the environment and one's own body. You have the feeling that the environment or your own body is spinning or the ground is fluctuating. In fact, these movements are based on a disturbed perception of the environment, which may underlie a variety of causes.

Dizziness has many causes

Dizziness is not an illness of its own, but an indication that there is a disturbance in the narrower or wider area of ​​the balance system. What causes this disorder is different.

"For the causes that hide behind dizziness, you can distinguish three large groups, " explains expert Prof. Dr. med. med. Michael Strupp. "The first group are diseases of the peripheral organ of equilibrium, the second group is central dizziness, and the third group is phobic swindle."

If there is a disease of the equilibrium organ in the inner ear, according to Strupp are particularly often responsible for the following three causes of dizziness:

  • Benign bearing vertigo
  • Meniere's disease
  • Inflammation of the balance nerve (so-called vestibular neuritis)

Benign bearing vertigo

"A benign positional vertigo makes itself felt at night or in the morning when turning over in bed." Such movements can cause acute vertigo attacks, "says Strupp. The cause of the storage vertigo are small crystals in the ear, which irritate the sensory cells in the inner ear during certain movements and thereby trigger vertigo attacks.

"The good news for all concerned is that such a storage vertigo is 100 percent treatable, " the expert assures. "For treatment so-called liberation maneuvers are carried out, which the patient can carry out after a medical instruction independently at home." Through the exercises, the crystals are transported out of the semicircular canals - often patients are free of complaints after only a few days.

Meniere's disease

Meniere's disease is a condition that is particularly common in people between the ages of 40 and 60 years. "In those affected, the vertigo is caused by the fact that too much fluid is produced in the ear, leading to vertigo attacks, which together with concomitant symptoms such as hearing difficulties, a feeling of pressure in the ear and ear noises, " explains Strupp.

People who suffer from Meniere's Disease require drug therapy to combat dizziness. As a rule, the active substance betahistine is used. "Similar to the benign positional vertigo, the chances of a cure are also very good in Meniere's disease, with about 90 percent of the patients being attack-free under treatment, " the expert emphasizes.

Inflammation of the balance nerve

Inflammation of the balance nerve is also called vestibular neuritis. "It is characterized by acute onset, fierce over-the-days vertigo, " says Strupp. "Triggers of inflammation are herpes viruses, which are among other things responsible for the unpleasant herpes blisters on the lip."

Strupp recommends treating the inflammation of the nerve in the acute phase with the administration of cortisone. Thus, in about two thirds of cases, the normal function of the balance nerve can be restored. However, it may take a few days to a few weeks for symptoms to resolve completely.

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