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Vertigo? | Don’t Keep Running Around in Circles! | Here is A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: May 9


Vertigo, a common condition that affects people of all ages, is particularly prevalent among the elderly. It's characterized by a spinning or whirling sensation even when you're still. In this article, we'll delve into vertigo in the elderly, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.



Vertigo
Vertigo


Causes of Vertigo in Elderly People


Vertigo in the elderly can have various causes, including underlying health conditions, new medications, inner ear disturbances, or a combination of factors. Here are the most common causes:


Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

BPPV is a vestibular disorder causing brief spells of dizziness, often triggered by position changes. Loose calcium-carbonate crystals in the inner ear's semicircular canals are often responsible.


Meniere Disease

This inner ear disorder affects one ear and leads to dizziness, hearing loss, imbalance, and tinnitus.


Cardiovascular Issues

Dizziness can result from cardiovascular problems reducing blood flow. Orthostatic hypotension, a sudden drop in blood pressure during position changes, can also cause brief bouts of dizziness.


Neurological Conditions

Chronic neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease can cause progressive balance issues.


Medications

Some medications, such as antihypertensives, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and sedatives, may induce dizziness as a side effect.


Symptoms of Vertigo in Elderly People.


Symptoms of vertigo can vary depending on the underlying cause. Common symptoms include a false sense of motion, lightheadedness, unsteadiness, nausea, abnormal eye movements, headache, and more. These symptoms may worsen with movement.



Vertigo? | Don’t Keep Running Around in Circles! | Here is A Comprehensive Guide
Vertigo


Treatment Options for Vertigo in Elderly People.


Treatment depends on the underlying cause and symptom severity. Here are some options:


Medications

Antihistamines and anticholinergics can provide relief but may cause drowsiness.


Physical Therapy

Canalith repositioning exercises can help resolve BPPV quickly by repositioning head position.


Lifestyle Changes

Avoiding sudden movements, staying hydrated, and reducing caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and salt intake can help.


Surgery

Rarely, surgery may be recommended if other treatments are ineffective.


Prevention Tips for Vertigo in Elderly People


To prevent falls due to vertigo, consider these strategies:


  • Stay physically active to improve strength and balance.

  • Install handrails at home.

  • Rise from sitting positions slowly and keep a chair nearby.

  • Use assistive devices like canes or walkers if needed.

  • Add grab bars in the bathroom to enhance safety.

  • Remove tripping hazards from your home.

  • Understanding vertigo and its management is essential for the elderly, ensuring they can maintain a good quality of life.

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