Testing For Vertigo And Balance Disorder

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Vertigo, Dizziness, Giddiness are common symptoms that are poorly understood by the patient as well as physicians.

It has been my experience that patients who suffer from a sudden episode of Vertigo reach the emergency unit of hospitals where they are admitted and subjected to a whole range of investigations, including a cardiac evaluation and an MRI of the brain. After a few days, the patient is discharged without reaching a conclusive diagnosis.

It is well known that sudden episodes of Vertigo that incapacitate a patient usually arise out of an Ear pathology.  The cause has to be determined.

For a patient suffering from Giddiness, a detailed history is very important –

  • when do the giddy spells happen, 
  • how long do they last,
  •  any accompanying symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache, or visual disturbances,
  • what precipitates the attack – like turning in bed, going out in the hot sun, after a period of viral infection?  
  • what medicine do you take to make it better?

For patients in whom we have not reached a diagnosis, we need to test the Vestibular System to locate the level at which the breakdown has occurred. Maintenance of balance is such a complex and automatic activity that it takes a battery of tests to reach a diagnosis.