Benign positional vertigo happens when a person experiences a sudden feeling of swaying. Patients who had this medical condition suffer from mild to severe dizziness. Several situations can trigger its occurrence. Triggers range from a simple change in your position and tilting the head. Getting up from bed, turning over or even lying down can trigger the condition.
Benign positional vertigo can result to vertigo. The occurrence of this condition is rare. Patients should be aware that some of its symptoms can cause serious results. For instance, dizziness can lead to patient fall and lack of consciousness. Let us explore more about this medical condition. This article tackles the common indications, treatments and other important facts. These will help us better understand benign positional vertigo.
What Are the Common Indications or Signs of Benign Positional Vertigo?
My brother had episodes of benign positional vertigo. Our family doctor reports that it is because my brother has some sort of inner ear disturbance. The disturbance was due to the calcium carbonate getting through the semicircular canals. These mini tubes in the ear have fluids that flow as we change our body position. The presence of calcium carbonate confuses our brain about the body position.
What Are the Risk Factors for Benign Positional Vertigo?
It is not only my brother who had the condition in our family. I also experienced benign positional vertigo so as my younger sister. This is because this condition is genetically predisposed.
Benign positional vertigo is not only due to genetics. Other factors can also contribute to the occurrence of the disease. Head traumas and diabetes are among the common risk factors. Having an inner condition and osteoporosis will also increase a patient’s risk of BPV.
Benign Positional Vertigo Symptoms or Signs
Blurred vision, vertigo and nausea are the common symptoms of the medical condition. Patients with benign positional vertigo also report dizziness, unsteadiness and lightheadedness. Balance loss is very common among patients. The indications may last for a minute at the most. They also come and go.
Diagnosis of Benign Positional Vertigo
There are various steps needed to diagnose benign positional vertigo. Medical professionals will start with interviewing the patient about the family medical history. They will also ask about the symptoms if a patient has experienced them. They will also assess if the patient has any of the risk factors of benign positional vertigo.
A patient who is at risk of the condition may have to undergo the Dix-Hallpike test. This examination assesses abnormal eye movements and spinning or swaying sensation.
The test does not end there. Doctors need to rule out other conditions with the same symptoms. Patients will then undergo a neurological test and a general physical exam. The purpose of these tests is to rule out any possible medical conditions.
Other Tests to Confirm Benign Positional Vertigo
Doctors can recommend other tests if previous results yield unclear or confusing outcomes. Among the tests are the head MRI, caloric stimulation and head CT scan. Hearing tests will also help confirm the condition. Medical professionals may recommend electroencephalogram to assess the brain functions of the patient.
How Do We Treat Benign Positional Vertigo?
Medical experts will recommend several treatments to patients with benign positional vertigo. One of these is the Epley maneuver. This is the most effective one so far.
The doctor will ask the patient to tilt the head to have the calcium carbonate enter the other areas of the inner ear. The purpose of this is to get our brain used to the changes that is happening in the inner ear.
The spinning or swaying sensations will cause the patient to feel dizzy and vomit. There are several medications to help address these symptoms. Sleeping aids and sedatives are commonly taken by patients with benign positional vertigo. Other medications that can improve their condition are also available such as antihistamines and anticholinergics.
Complications or Related Conditions to Benign Positional Vertigo
Treatments for benign positional vertigo are important to save the patient from possible complications. Patients should seek immediate medical help if they experience vision problems, weakness as well as slurred speech. These conditions may occur after taking medications.
Medical experts may also provide patients with drugs to treat vestibular syndromes that are associated with vertigo. Good examples of these medications are dexamethasone and betahistine. Patients should take them especially while they are undergoing the different positioning tests as they cannot tolerate possible symptoms.
What if the medications and the positioning treatments do not work? Patients with severe symptoms of benign positional vertigo may undergo surgeries. The semi-circular canal occlusion is one of the surgical operations that might work with patients. The processes and steps of the procedure may be similar to other brain surgeries. This is why surgeries are not commonly advised to patients.
Life Quality of Patients With Benign Positional Vertigo
The life quality of patients with benign positional vertigo may not be that good. I have heard stories of some family friends who had their life in danger because of benign positional vertigo. Some patients experience this while driving, which can lead to possible road accidents. There are some that had terrible falls due to benign positional vertigo.
Challenges will be part of the daily lives of patients with this medical condition. Their work life and family relations may be put to test by benign positional vertigo. Right now, treatments are not available for this condition. The symptoms are the only ones that can be alleviated. Hence, being more aware of the surroundings and physical health is important because we never when BPV will happen again.
Personal Thoughts on the Medical Condition
Benign positional vertigo affects great number of people in the country. As for me, regular consultations with your family doctor may do you good if you have this condition. This is because your doctor can closely monitor improvements or progression in the symptoms. This will also help you be more aware of the factors that trigger the condition. Thus, improving your chances of having a better quality of life.