i am 48 year old and an active person but often feels dizzy when I stand up suddenly after a hot bath. I this vertigo? – S Pereira
No, this is not vertigo. It is called postural hypotension. It means that your blood pressure is dropping slightly but suddenly so that the blood supply to your brain is reduced a little. It happens to everyone from time to time and does not usually signify anything serious unless frequent.
Why do people get vertigo when looking down from great heights? Whenever I look down from a multistorey building, I get vertigo – Parvez Mistry
People who are afraid of heights usually feel faintness. This is not vertigo. Vertigo is a feeling that the world is spinning around you or that you are moving or swaying when you are actually standing still. Vertigo is a common and most distressing symptom that occurs when the delicate balance mechanism in the inner part of the ear or brain stem is damaged or disturbed. People often confuse vertigo with fear of heights. In fact, it can be symptoms of a variety of conditions.
The balance mechanism is located in the inner ear which monitors the position of the head continuously and the information of the movement is sent from it to the brain. But the brain receives the information about the body’s position also from the eyes and the other position sensors. These sensors tell the brain that the movement was stopped. If both information are contradictory, the result is vertigo. The common type of vertigo can be cured very simply by spinning a little in the opposite direction and that is how skating artistes and ballet dancers train themselves to prevent vertigo.
Vertigo can be caused in two ways. There can be something wrong with the inner ear mechanism so that the messages are confused or the brain messages are confused or the brain stem itself can be damages so that the messages are not properly analyzed.
Problems in the inner ear
The part of the inner ear which contains the balance mechanism is called the labyrinth and this can get infected causing Labyrinthitis which leads to severe vertigo and vomiting. Labyrinthitis can also be caused as a result of other types of ear infection such as otitis media.
Meniere’s disease can also be a cause of vertigo. It is caused by swelling in the fluid cavities of the inner ear including the balance mechanisms themselves. This disease is characterized by severe vertigo with partial loss of hearing and a continuous buzzing in the affected ear. The latter symptom is referred to as tinnitus.
Causes due to brain stem
Nerve messages from the inner ear are analyzed by a collection of cells in the brain stem called the vestibule nucleus. Damage to this interpretative part of the system can also cause vertigo. In older people, the blood vessels that supply the brain stem can become furred or even blocked up. Starved of sufficient oxygen, cells in the brain stem stop working and messages from the inner ear are no longer properly analyzed.
There are many drugs which cause vertigo, for eg alcohol, excessive intake of which can make the world appear very unsteady.
Persistent or regular vertigo should always be attended immediately. Homoepathy offers very effective treatment for all types of vertigo.
Chinium sulph: For vertigo due to aural nerves being affected and pain in the forehead.
Cocculus: For vertigo associated with travel sickness which is worse while sitting up or when riding and is accompanied by vomiting.
Ferrum Phos: For vertigo due to anemia or loss of blood.
Borax: For vertigo with fear of downward movement.
Theridion: Vertigo on closing the eyes when in motion or fast movement and which causes nausea and vomiting.
Natrum mur: For vertigo accompanied by headache.
Selenium: For vertigo on rising from bed or seat or moving about accompanied by nausea and vomiting and feeling faint after eating.
Sudden attacks of giddiness accompanied by hearing difficulties require Nat Salicyl 200 to be followed by China 200 which will hasten the cure.