Feeling dizzy? Like your head is spinning? U-M expert offers help for vertigo sufferers
ANN ARBOR, MI -We've all had that dizzy feeling once in a while. Maybe you felt it when you suddenly stood up after sitting down for a long time. Or when you were looking up to search for something on a top shelf.
Now, imagine what it would be like to feel that dizzy and off-balance for minutes, hours, days or even years. This kind of serious dizziness, called vertigo, makes life miserable for millions of people each year, and keeps some from driving or working. It starts without warning for no apparent reason, and comes and goes.
Many people with vertigo and related balance problems never get effective treatment, or even a firm diagnosis. They may not even seek a doctor's help.
But a University of Michigan Health System expert explains that it doesn't have to be this way. Doctors today understand far more about what causes balance problems, and can offer specialized testing and treatment to help. Anyone who experiences dizziness, especially more than a few times, should see their doctor about it.
"Balance problems are very, very common. Almost everyone in their life will have a balance issue, be it mild or severe," says Hussam El-Kashlan, M.D., medical director of a special U-M center devoted to diagnosing and treating balance disorders. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 7.4 million people each year visit a doctor's office or emergency room for vertigo or dizziness.
"For some people, vertigo can be very debilitating," El-Kashlan explains. "During the acute attack, the person is totally incapacitated. They can't do anything for themselves and they're basically bedridden or lying on the ground until the attack passes. Often it's accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting."