Millions of Americans suffer from balance disorders with symptoms ranging from feeling dizzy to lightheaded. Others are weak or unsteady and have a sensation of movement of their surroundings. Because the term dizziness is used to describe a wide range of sensations and symptoms, it is extremely important for patients to be as specific as possible when describing their dizziness episode(s) to help narrow down a list of possible underlying causes.
Vertigo, the illusion that one’s surroundings are moving, is typically the result of a temporary, sometimes sudden, change in the balance function of the inner ear. There are a number of other body systems that can affect balance, including vision, musculoskeletal and nervous systems. In addition, infections, head injuries, blood pressure, certain medications and aging can affect balance and lead to feelings of dizziness.
Chronic, recurring and/or frequent issues with balance or sensations of light-headedness affect daily life and increase the risk for minor and even major falls and injury, especially in the elderly population. Fortunately, there have been great advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of dizziness.
Videonystagmography (VNG) is a complete diagnostic system for recording, analyzing and reporting involuntary eye movements, called nystagmus, using video technology. High tech goggles with infrared cameras are worn while a patient looks or lies in different positions. Eye movements are recorded and analyzed to help assess the balance system health, diagnose possible causes of vertigo or dizziness and formulate treatment recommendations.
If, after testing, it is determined that dizziness is not caused by the balance center of the inner ear, other sources are considered that may be causing the sensation of dizziness including, but not limited to the brain, medical disorders such a low blood pressure or psychological problems such as anxiety.
Depending on the diagnosis, there are numerous options for treating balance disorders. Individual treatments vary based on symptoms, medical history, general health, examination by a physician, and the results of medical tests. Following a complete evaluation and diagnosis, a management plan can help control the effects of dizziness, decrease the risk of injury and lead to increased functional independence.
From accurate diagnosis to the development of a personalized treatment plan, Portneuf Ear Nose and Throat is here for you. I provide advanced treatment protocols, state-of-the-art diagnostic technology with comprehensive and compassionate care for patients of all ages. If you need to see an ENT physician, I am happy to be of service. To schedule a consult, call 208-239-1960.