Understanding vertigo: 5 questions and answers Understanding vertigo: 5 questions and answers

The sensation of imbalance associated with vertigo and the feeling that the body or the objects surrounding it are rotating is different than dizziness. The causes of vertigo are different, and the condition almost always affects the elderly.

1.What is vertigo?

It is a balance disorder where patients experience an illusion of movement that is not real. According to the Otolaryngology Association of Colombia, vertigo is most frequently caused by a condition of the inner ear: organ responsible for regulating balance. It can also be caused by a condition of the central nervous system, however.

2.Why is it more common among the elderly?

This is due to the progressive and natural hearing loss that occurs as people age. It can also be caused by stroke, cardiovascular diseases or by different brain conditions such as tumors or growths that become more common in the elderly.

3. What are the symptoms?

  •        A spinning sensation or the feeling that your body is turning in circles.
  •        Nausea or vomiting.
  •        Reduced or complete hearing loss.
  •        Hearing whistling sounds or noises.
  •        The feeling that your ears are plugged.
  •        Frequent falls as a result of the loss of balance.

4. How is it treated?

Attacks of vertigo that are related to ear conditions are generally treated with vestibular rehabilitation. This therapy is administered by physical therapy experts who help reposition the small crystals found in the inner ear. When vertigo is related to central nervous system problems, once the exact cause of the condition is identified, treatment is often given in the form of medication, which is only prescribed by people who are experts on the condition.

5. What precautions should be taken with the elderly?

Falls among the elderly can pose significant health risks. With elderly people who are experiencing vertigo attacks, preventative measures should be taken to reduce fall risk such as leaving the lights on at night to go to the bathroom, installing handrails or supports, and avoiding stairs.

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