More than 20 million Americans suffer from dizziness, with most of these cases being chronic dizziness. This is usually due to an inner ear disorder, where dizziness can come in various forms such as vertigo, lightheadedness and disequilibrium.
Highlighted below are various causes behind chronic dizziness:
BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
BPPV usually occurs when crystals within the inner ear, known as otoconia move out of their ideal position. These crystals are made from calcium carbonate and have a major influence in terms of your equilibrium in relation to gravity. Each time we move our head, signals are sent to our brain to inform our nervous system of how we’re positioned in space (spatial awareness). Approximately 20% of people have to visit their doctors due to BPPV. It can affect children, but is more common for those aged 40 years old upwards.
BPPV can result with symptoms such as vestibular nystagmus, chronic dizziness, lack of balance and nausea. Moving your head in certain directions can elicit nystagmus, leaving the individual feeling sick, which can result with vomiting and intense periods of vertigo.
The term Menière’s disease came from a French physician known as Prosper Menière, during the year 1861. It is a vestibular disorder that affects balance and hearing, which is usually associated with symptoms such as episodes of chronic dizziness (vertigo), tinnitus (ringing in the ears), loss of hearing, sensitivity to light and noise, fullness in the ears and migraines.
There are various stages to Menière’s disease, where it affects sufferers differently. Symptoms can be mild on some days and very intense on others. Factors such as the weather can influence how those affected by Menière’s disease feel. The cause behind attacks linked to Menière’s disease, pertains to fluid, known as endolympth being built up in excess within the inner ear. Other causes can also come into play such as autoimmune diseases, infections, viruses, allergies and electrolyte imbalances.
Vestibular Neuritis (labyrinthitis)
This is usually caused by a viral infection which affects the inner ear. This infection causes inflammation and has an impact on nerves within the ear. This can also result with chronic dizziness, pressure in the ears and brain fog.
Vestibular neuritis causes incorrect sensory information to be sent from the inner ear to the brain. This can make thinking and day to day life much more challenging, which can affect vision and hearing at times. As with any vestibular disorder, vestibular neuritis can be accompanied by anxiety, stress and depression, where sufferers are usually prescribed with antidepressants to mitigate symptoms.
If your vision is reducing or your eyes have become damaged due to injury, then this can result in visual vertigo. This is another form of chronic dizziness where everything you look at can make you feel disorientated and nauseous. Symptoms usually occur when looking at patterns and moving objects, such as traffic and being in supermarkets. They can also occur by just watching the television or when reading.
Conditions that affect blood circulation such as anemia, low iron levels and sickle cell can result with chronic dizziness. This can be due to a lack of blood getting to the ears and brain, resulting with dizzy sensations.