Indians lack knowledge about vertigo and its symptoms

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

In many people the symptoms may not subside for years

New Delhi, 10th April 2018: Despite a high prevalence, about 52% of vertigo patients would not stop driving even if they are warned, as per a study. In India, about 1.3%of the population suffers from vertigo. There is a need to create awareness about vertigo as Indians lack knowledge about this condition, and claim it is a genetic disorder.

Vertigo is an illusion of movement (mostly spinning) caused due to imbalance of the vestibular system. It can lead to dizziness and loss of balance in patients.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Vertigo is a symptom, rather than a condition itself. It’s the sensation that you, or the environment around you, is moving or spinning. This feeling may be barely noticeable, or it may be so severe that you find it difficult to keep your balance and do everyday tasks. Attacks of vertigo can develop suddenly and last for a few seconds, or they may last much longer. If you have severe vertigo, your symptoms may be constant and last for several days, making normal life very difficult. Vertigo is commonly caused by a problem with the way balance works in the inner ear, although it can also be caused by problems in certain parts of the brain. Depending on the condition causing vertigo, you may experience additional symptoms, such as a high temperature, ringing in your ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss.”

Some other symptoms of vertigo include loss of balance – which can make it difficult to stand or walk; feeling sick or being sick; and dizziness.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Some cases of vertigo improve over time, without treatment. However, some people have repeated episodes for many months, or even years, such as those with Ménière’s disease. There are specific treatments for some causes of vertigo. A series of simple head movements (known as the Epley manoeuvre) is used to treat BPPV.”

Some tips from HCFI.

There are some things you can do to relieve symptoms

  • Do simple exercises to correct your symptoms
  • Sleep with your head slightly raised on two or more pillows
  • Get up slowly when getting out of bed and sit on the edge of the bed for a minute or so before standing
  • Avoid bending down to pick up items
  • Avoid extending your neck – for example, while reaching up to a high shelf
  • Move your head carefully and slowly during daily activities
  • Do exercises that trigger your vertigo, so your brain gets used to it and reduces the symptoms (do these only after making sure you won’t fall, and have support if needed)