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What causes severe vertigo?

Answered by
Dr. Sumit Bhatti

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2563 Questions

Posted on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 in General Health
Question: Hi Dr.

I do have a question. It pertains to my Mother. She has experienced severe Vertigo during the past 2 days. She hasn't experienced Vertigo for at least 8 to 10 years. She is in her early 60's, has said that she has had a mild heart-attack about 5 years ago, but the doctors ran tests on her and said there were no signs of a heart-attack. She currently takes medication for high blood pressure, and is often stressed (it is her nature, there are not necessarily stressful issues arising in her life). She has an allergy during either the Spring or Fall...I can't remember, but it is due to the natural pollen in the air. She hasn't the money to visit a doctor, but when I'm finished with school I'll be paying for her visits.

She often complains of kidney pain, and she thinks that this pain my be related to the consumption of caffeine and/or unhealthy foods. I don't know if this is related to the Vertigo or not, but would like to know the reason behind this situation too. She means a lot to me, so whatever knowledge that you can provide would be highly favored. Thank you


P.S. She doesn't exercise like she should, but I have finally gotten her to go to the gym for light work-outs about 2 times a week. This has been going on for about a month. She hasn't worked-out a day in her life (except for mandatory gym as a child/young adult, in school). Though, she has always had jobs in nursing homes, etc that have required her to move around rather vigorously. Also, she has maybe 1 veggie and 2 or 3 fruits a day. I have been mentoring her food-intake for the past month or two as well. Before this time, she has never eaten the proper number of fruits/veggies.

Thanks again! I hope you can help.
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 50 minutes later
Brief Answer:
As below:

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for your query.

1. First check if it is true spinning vertigo or just unsteadiness. Ear related (Peripheral) vertigo is usually the spinning type. Brain related (Central) vertigo is usually an unsteadiness.

2. Check with her if the vertigo she is experiencing now is positional (occurs with change in position against gravity such as while lying down or getting up). If so, BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) is a common treatable cause.

3. Other possibilities are Meniere's Disease, Vestibulitis, Cervical Spine issues, allergy, Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD) and so on. The list is long and these can only be treated by a vertigo specialist.

4. Hypertension and stress itself may cause dizziness. Ask her to follow a low salt diet.

5. Get an abdominal ultrasound (USG) done to check the cause of the kidney pain.

6. These problems are best treated by a doctor who can directly examine her.

If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj

The User accepted the expert's answer

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