Dizziness is a fairly common complaint although it is a broad term without a single specific meaning. It generally encompasses an unsteadiness, lightheadedness or spinning sensation. There are four common conditions that fall under the description of dizziness.
- Vertigo: The sensation of motion when you are not moving. You feel as if you or your surroundings are spinning. This is an indication that there is a problem in your vestibular or balance system located in your inner ear.
- Disequilibrium: Unsteadiness or balance issue which makes walking difficult.
- Lightheadedness: The sensation that you are about to faint, known as near syncope.
- Anxiety: People with anxiety issues often use the term dizzy to describe their anxious state.
Together with the ENT Consultants of East Tennessee, we treat dizziness caused by vertigo. Typical causes of dizziness, are:
Infection of the inner ear. Typically viral, the infection and dizziness symptoms usually go away in one to six weeks.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the sudden sensation that you are spinning and one of the most common causes of vertigo. The episodes are brief and symptoms can range from mild to severe. BPPV is typically triggered by changes in head position such as tipping the head up or down, lying down, rolling over in bed or sitting up.
The vestibular labyrinth, the tiny organ located inside the ear consist of 3 looped structures or semicircular canals which contain fluid and fine hairs that monitor head rotation. The otolith organs within the ear contain crystals which make us sensitive to gravity. When these crystals become dislodged they cause you to becomes sensitive to changes in head position which in turn causes the dizziness sensation.
BPPV is diagnosed through positional testing using the Dix-Hallpike maneuver. The testing may be performed during a visit with our ENT physician or during VNG testing conducted by our trained Audiologists. The patient is moved from a seated to a supine position while the head is turned at a 45 degree angle. Eye movement is monitored for nystagmus which is a rapid back and forth movement.
Meniere’s Disease is a medical condition causing long lasting episodes of severe vertigo.
Medications may also cause symptoms of dizziness
If you are experiencing dizziness symptoms please schedule an appointment today with our balance and dizziness experts, (865) 693-6065 ext. 125