Are You Experiencing Vertigo and Dizziness?
Don’t Wait Years to Get the Help You Need to Fix a Common Condition!
by Annette Pinder
Suddenly, I was waking up dizzy every day. You know how sometimes when you’re on an elevator, and it dips suddenly, making your stomach flip? That’s what it felt like. I was moving up and down and sideways. I couldn’t get out of bed without feeling like I would fall, especially when I turned on my left side. Fortunately, I knew who to call.
Dr. Lixin Zhang is Director the Dizziness and Balance Center at Dent Neurologic Institute. His genuine concern for patients, extraordinary knowledge, and 90 percent success rate in helping patients with dizziness and balance issues makes him a hero to me. Fortunately, he made room for me in his schedule.
After reviewing my medications and possible stressors that might explain my dizziness, Dr. Zhang asked me to lie down. As he turned me to one side, the room started to flip as he exclaimed, “You really needed to come in!” He asked me to sit up, lie down, and turn a couple of times, and within seconds everything stopped. I was no longer dizzy. He said, “That’s it! It’s gone.” I was incredulous. Dr. Zhang said there is only a 15 percent chance that this will happen again, but if it does, I know where to go.
Dr. Zhang explained that what I experienced is called benign paroxysmal position vertigo (BPPV), the most common disorder of the inner ear’s vestibular system, and a vital part of maintaining balance. BPPV is benign, not life-threatening or progressive, and produces a sensation of spinning called vertigo that is both paroxysmal and positional, meaning it occurs suddenly with a change in head position.
Why does this happen?
The vestibular organs in each ear include the utricle, saccule, and three semicircular canals. The semicircular canals detect rotational movement, are located at right angles to each other, and are filled with a fluid called endolymph. When the head rotates, endolymphatic fluid lags behind because of inertia, and exerts pressure against the cupula, the sensory receptor at the base of the canal. The receptor then sends impulses to the brain about the head’s movement.
Dr. Zhang says BPPV occurs because of otoconia, tiny crystals of calcium carbonate that are a normal part of the inner ear’s anatomy. When the head is still, gravity causes the otoconia to clump and settle. When the head moves, the otoconia shift, stimulating the cupula to send false signals to the brain, producing vertigo and triggering nystagmus (involuntary eye movements). I was amazed when Dr. Zhang showed me a video of the episode of BPPV that I experienced, capturing those crazy involuntary eye movements. Visit https://youtu.be/-wCVFiu0Xoo to see how Dr. Zhang was able to fix my problem in seconds!
BPPV typically occurs on one side or the other, although in some cases it can occur on both sides. Symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, imbalance, difficulty concentrating, and nausea. Activities that bring on symptoms can vary, but are precipitated by changing the head’s position with respect to gravity. Most common movements include looking up or rolling over and getting out of bed. While the condition is not life-threatening, it can be very disruptive to a person’s work and social life, and pose a hazard due to an increased risk of falls.
According to Dr. Zhang, 2.4 percent of all people will experience the disorder at some point in their lifetimes. BPPV accounts for at least 20 percent of diagnoses made by physicians, and is the cause of approximately 50 percent of dizziness in older people. The good news is there is someone in Western New York who can stop BPPV in its tracks in 90 percent of all cases. If you have been suffering from any of the above symptoms, I urge you to make an appointment immediately with Dr. Zhang to get your life back by calling 716-250-2000 or visiting www.dentinstitute.com. Learn more about BPPV at www.vestibular.org.