This week we have the pleasure of speaking once again with Lauren Ryan. She joined our show previously and was more than happy to join us again to discuss a dizzying diagnosis: VERTIGO! Vertigo is a symptom, rather than a condition itself. It's the sensation that you, or the environment around you, is moving or spinning.
This feeling may be barely noticeable, or it may be so severe that you find it difficult to keep your balance and do everyday tasks.
Attacks of vertigo can develop suddenly and last for a few seconds, or they may last much longer. If you have severe vertigo, your symptoms may be constant and last for several days, making normal life very difficult.
Other symptoms associated with vertigo may include:
loss of balance – which can make it difficult to stand or walk
feeling sick or being sick
Vertigo is commonly caused by a problem with the way balance works in the inner ear, although it can also be caused by problems in certain parts of the brain.
Causes of vertigo may include:
benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – where certain head movements trigger vertigo
migraines – severe headaches
labyrinthitis – an inner ear infection
vestibular neuronitis – inflammation of the vestibular nerve, which runs into the inner ear and sends messages to the brain that help to control balance
How is vertigo treated?
Some cases of vertigo improve over time, without treatment. However, some people have repeated episodes for many months, or even years, such as those with Ménière's disease.
There are specific treatments for some causes of vertigo. A series of simple head movements (known as the Epley manoeuvre) is used to treat BPPV.
Medicines, such as prochlorperazine and some antihistamines, can help in the early stages or most cases of vertigo.
Many people with vertigo also benefit from vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT), which is a series of exercises for people with dizziness and balance problems.
Depending on what's causing your vertigo, there may be things you can do yourself to help relieve your symptoms. Your GP or the specialist treating you may advise you to:
do simple exercises to correct your symptoms
sleep with your head slightly raised on two or more pillows
get up slowly when getting out of bed and sit on the edge of the bed for a minute or so before standing
avoid bending down to pick up items
avoid extending your neck – for example, while reaching up to a high shelf
move your head carefully and slowly during daily activities
do exercises that trigger your vertigo, so your brain gets used to it and reduces the symptoms (do these only after making sure you won't fall, and have support if needed)
S9E20 Vertigo (1)
Lita T 00:08
Hello, and welcome to another episode of podcast dx. The show that brings you interviews with people just like you whose lives were forever changed by a medical diagnosis. I'm Lita Ron is not with us today.
And I'm Jean Marie.
Lita T 00:23
Collectively, we're the host of podcast dx. Our guest today is Lauren Ryan. I don't know if you remember Lauren was on our show recently with us. She has four siblings, whom she loves dearly. She graduated in 2011, and works at a community center. She's a social person, and very grateful for getting her story out into the world. She spoke with us on season eight, Episode 17, about Lysosomal storage disease. And today, we're going to be talking about vertigo.
Lita T 01:01
Hello, Lauren. Thank you very much for taking the time to join us today. Can you start us out by telling our listeners what exactly is vertigo?
Vertigo is a condition that affects the balance to give a person a sense of spinning, even when there is no motion involved?
It sounds like some it would be fun for a minute, but not for the lifetime.
Lita T 01:28
I like I used to like the dizzy kind of rides at amusement parks. And I guess the Mayo Clinic says that most people visiting with their doctor because of dizziness will first be asked about their symptoms and medications. And then be given a physical exam. And during the exam, your doctor, you know checks how you walk and maintain your balance and how the major nerves in your central nervous system are working. And you may also need a hearing test, a balanced test including an eye movement test, a head movement test, postural urography I don't even know what that is, and rot, a rotary chair testing that sounds like something some kids thought up like where you sit in a chair and they
Lita T 02:14
spin you in a circle
again, kind of sounds like fun. But Lauren, when did your symptoms star, and what testing did your healthcare provider do?
Well, I get I get like vertigo every three years.
So like, and it runs in my family
my mom's side of the family. So it's genetic....
involved Because my mom has it, my grandpa has it and my great grandmother had it.
Lita T 02:53
Wow. Yeah. Okay.
Yeah. It runs in the family.
Lita T 02:58
Okay. So they didn't really have to do any testing because you knew what it was?
Well, I didn't know what it was at first. Because I was supposed to work. And that's actually the day I got vertigo symptoms, was the day I was supposed to work. So I called my mom. And my, "I don't think I'm going into work today."
It felt like the world was spinning around.
Lita T 03:32
Lita T 03:34
So how does somebody get vertigo if it's not genetic?
The most common causes of vertigo are inner ear infections or diseases of the ear or when calcium builds up in canals of the inner ear, also head trauma or Meniere's disease can cause it.
Okay. And actually, I think I saw on a TV show once.
Lita T 04:11
where someone had vertigo and the doctor ran into him at the grocery store on Thanksgiving and did something to try to dislodge the
Lita T 04:20
Oh, like a physical therapy movement.
yes, to dislodge the calcium buildup in the canal.
Lita T 04:24
Okay. Well, I've heard about Meniere's disease... Meniere's disease. what?
I said I haven't
Lita T 04:31
Oh oh, Bob's Bob's. Second, Bob's better half Sue
Lita T 04:38
No, she was worried that she had Meniere's disease,
Lita T 04:42
And that Meniere's disease results from an imbalance of fluid in the inner ear, which can cause periods of vertigo lasting from minutes to hours, and is frequently accompanied by fluctuating low frequency hearing loss. tinnitus, which we've talked about before, which is like a ringing in the ears. And it also can give you a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ears known as aural fullness. Was that something that your doctors were looking at as a possible cause of the vertigo?
I don't think so. But they're saying it might be something to do with. Like, there was just background and my mom and grandpa and them having it
Lita T 05:37
Okay. All right.
And did you feel like um, did you feel like there was something stuck in your ears like that aural or fullness? That fullness?
Lita T 05:48
No, just the dizziness. Okay, okay.
Lita T 05:52
And I saw on a website called vestibular.org, that the vestibular system, which includes parts of the inner ear, and brain that helps actually control your balance and your eye movement. And if this system is damaged by like a disease, aging, injury, or illness, then vestibular disorders can result and are often associated with one or more of these symptoms. And then, they also mentioned that an issue with the system can cause a large variety of problems because obviously that balance in everything is a lot.
Lita T 06:26
Right. That's right, Jean. And do you want to go over that list of the problems that could be caused by which vestibule? I can't even say that word,
Lita T 06:35
what, I vestibular
Lita T 06:40
Lita T 06:41
we're gonna we're Yeah, we're gonna get through it though.
Lita T 06:44
So like there's dizziness and balance vertigo, brain fog, tinnitus, hearing loss, vision impairment, nausea. I would think if your, actually I haven't asked Lauren about that in a second, cognitive changes, sociological changes and motion sickness, did you feel nauseous or have anything like that? Because you know, dizziness is is kind of hard to deal with.
Lita T 07:07
Yeah. Did it make you feel like you were gonna
Queazy Yeah, like,
Lita T 07:09
Lita T 07:10
All I felt nauseous at first, but then that went away.
Lita T 07:17
Lita T 07:18
All right. And how long did the symptoms last? Like when you when you got it? Would it last for minutes or hours or days?
It was a day.
Lita T 07:28
I when I got it, I basically took some meclizine, do some exercises and then laid down for the rest of the day.
Lita T 07:44
Okay. And that's hard because even when you're laying down
Lita T 07:47
the room is moving
as the room can be Yeah, and yeah, that that it's it's an unusual sensation Okay, and how is vertigo typically treated
Most causes of vertigo, are readily treatable with physical therapy, medication surgeries and sometimes it doesn't respond to treatment and then they give it time to resolve. Since many types of vertigo go away without treatment, initial evaluation by a general practitioner or family doctor is appropriate, early on, reserving specialty care for chronic cases. If it doesn't get better, you may be referred to a neurologist.
Okay. Okay, that makes that makes sense,
Lita T 08:54
And I read that video games can actually cause vertigo, too
Well, three dimensional video games can cause a brief sensation of vertigo, but it would not continue for long. And it doesn't cause medical problems that needs to be treated.
Lita T 09:19
so it's kind of like if you're on a ride,
right? Like you get off the ride, it stops...
Lita T 09:23
goes away, right?
Lita T 09:24
That's not a medical condition. Okay, so it's not like video games cause it
right, it's just sensitization,
Lita T 09:30
right. Lauren, how common is vertigo
is is extremely rare, but not impossible for young children to have vertigo. It's become became become more common in the early 20s and affects all ages commonly after that. It's consequences however become more substantial as you get older because loss of balance in the elderly commonly leads to major fractures.
Lita T 10:16
Like hip injuries like hip fractures.
Lita T 10:19
Right, So if somebody that's older, you
you have to be more careful.
Lita T 10:22
Yeah, they have to be careful.
Sure, And Lauren, like, when did you what symptoms first made you realize that something was going wrong? And was it like first thing in the morning? Or did it like build up slowly? Or was it all of a sudden,
it was all of a sudden what I was doing, I was in the bathroom getting ready for work. And all of a sudden it hit me.
Okay, and that's a dangerous place to have it.
Lita T 10:53
Lita T 10:55
good thing you didn't fall.
Lita T 10:57
Lauren, I heard that. mental stress can make many forms of vertigo worse, but will not by itself, produce vertigo. So it is important. If you have vertigo, that you should try to remove stress from your life. What do you do every day to limit or reduce stress in your life?
Well, I think listening to music can help. And also listening to a good podcast like PodcastDX .
Lita T 11:35
This is why you're one of our favorites.
Lita T 11:37
(giggling) We did not pay her to say that.
No one of many reasons why Lauren's one of our favorites.
Lita T 11:42
Thank you so much.
And, Lauren, what role have your friends and family played in your health care journey?
Well, once again, it helps to have a mom that's a nurse and there, that knows like what to expect when you get something like vertigo, it's helpful to like call her or whatever. To see what's going on. I had no idea. What was going on?
Sure. Yeah. It's a weird feeling.
Lita T 12:19
Right? That's for sure.
Lita T 12:23
And what's the best advice that you've received for coping with a rare disease like vertigo, and what advice would you give to somebody who was recently diagnosed with vertigo?
I would say for somebody that is recently diagnosed with vertigo, Stay calm. And so don't freak out. No need to get even more worked up.
Okay. Okay. Okay.
Lita T 12:58
Yeah, I guess you know, if you do look things up on your own, sometimes you can go down a rabbit hole, and it's and end up with the...
It'll probably show you the worst. Possible.
Lita T 13:07
worst possible. Yes, yes
Yeah. And your mom is probably a better go to.
Lita T 13:12
Lita T 13:13
That's for sure.
So I figured out the only thing that works for me, is called a tilt table. And in the doctor's office, like a specialist for vertigo.
So I think as I've said, again, the thing that will help you get over it, like when they reset the controls in your ear, and you're like,
Lita T 13:45
Oh, that's like a physical therapy movement. Right?
Lita T 13:48
They kind of, they're moving your head back and forth. right
And now the tilt table, they can adjust and
Lita T 13:54
they can adjust how much you're upside down. And, yeah, because you think that your inner ear is not that important, but it really is. And, and that's the only way you can move things around. You can't reach in there and do it. So you have to actually move your body in different positions. Right, right.
And was that was that a was it painful at all?
No, it felt like, at first it felt like dizzy.
like I doing it, but then it kind of weird, but then it got better for a couple of days.
Lita T 14:38
Okay. Okay. And how often did you have to have that, that therapy?
I think we've done two times so far.
Lita T 14:49
Because I've been there together like every three years for now or longer
Lita T 14:59
I forgot to ask, what, how old were you when this first started?
Ummm I think I was in my late teens, like maybe 19 years old.
Lita T 15:10
So right. Like you had said earlier in the, you know, your 20s are kind of the prime time.
Lita T 15:15
So you were you were right in there. Okay
Lita T 15:18
Is it? I wonder if it's something that maybe if you know what's going to happen every three years if they can I wonder if they could
do it in advance?
Lita T 15:26
Yeah, in advance, go and have the therapy in advance to kind of get things balanced inside.
I wonder if they could do that, too. I will have to ask.
Lita T 15:37
Yeah. Yeah. To move the crystals. It. I think it's amazing that that happens. And how it makes me wonder who first figured that out?
Lita T 15:46
And who first figured out how to treat it?
Lita T 15:49
Because that's it's a weird,
Lita T 15:52
it's like a microscopic inside of your ear thing. And
yeah, and they realize, Oh, well doing this helps. Yeah, that's amazing. Well, Lauren, I think that about wraps up our episode. It's always a pleasure to speak with you. And we're so happy to hear from you again.
Lita T 16:08
And I'm glad you're back to work.
Yes. That's wonderful. That's absolutely wonderful because the community needs you.
Yeah. Thank you.
Lita T 16:16
All right. Well, if our listeners have any questions or comments related to vertigo, they can contact us at podcast firstname.lastname@example.org through our website, podcast, dx Com. We're also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
And if you have a moment to spare, please give us a review wherever you get your podcast. As always, please keep in mind that this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment. And before undertaking a new health care regime, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you've heard on this podcast
Lita T 17:00
till next week.