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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes frequent vertigo?

I am 84, female, suffering from frequent episodes of vertigo. I have visited 9 doctors, had many tests, gone for PT , but have found no cure. The last doctor from Duke told me I was having migraine headaches. But I have no pain! Sometimes I will go a month without episodes, then have two a week for a time. When it happens, I take mectlizine and lie down for an hour or two, miserable. usually sick at my stomach. What could be causing this?
Thu, 12 Apr 2018
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Internal Medicine Specialist 's  Response

In old age muscles are weaker, spines start to twist, bones may become brittle. Add vascular problems, vision loss, polypharmacy, and a sedentary lifestyle, and it’s no wonder that complaints of vertigo or dizziness affect some 70% of individuals age 65 or older. About vertigo, you tend to think of an inner ear disturbance. But it can be many things in the elderly from loss of function from a viral infection to dislodged crystals in the ear. While dizziness or disequilibrium has many causes, the most common is vascular or central nervous system maladies not usually seen in younger patients. It might be an infection.

If the patient also has limb weakness or slurred speech, stroke is a real possibility. Or the problem may be related to medication causing depressed blood pressure to the brain. If a sensation of spinning is involved, it might be benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), the most common cause of vertigo in the elderly. Need complete examination by MRI brain, vestibule function estimation, cardiac function estimation, Holter monitoring of blood pressure, sugar levels, vitamin B12 level, muscle strength, bone scan etcetera. Please consult your neuro-physician he will examine and treat you accordingly.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Dr. Penchila Prasad Kandikattu
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