Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

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Opposed to what people know—vertigo is not a disease. It is more like a symptom rather than an actual condition. Vertigo is considered an important symptom to be assessed most especially in cases which involve the neurologic system, i.e. multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, brain hemorrhage, and the like. The reason for this is that vertigo has something to do with the balance center of the body. Careful assessment of this symptom will indicate that something might be wrong with the neurologic system, more specifically the areas which are responsible for maintaining a person’s sense of balance.

What is Benign Positional Vertigo

Apart from these neurologic indications of vertigo, this symptom may also be caused by other factors and the most common among these factors is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV. Benign positional vertigo is simply defined as an occasion of spinning sensation which may last for some minutes and often stops on its own. In layman’s term, BPPV is the vertigo classification that may come and go, without any specific causation. As such, BPPV may happen anytime and anywhere. One area responsible for the occurrence of BPPV however is the labyrinth of the ear.

Causes of Benign Positional Vertigo

How BPPV occurs is still a matter of debate and further studies. Most cases of BPPV are still not known. It is a common knowledge however that most balance related disorders may be due to an impairment of the vestibular canals in the ear, especially the labyrinths. The labyrinth is an inner ear structure that acts like a gyroscope or accelerometer. This structure tells the body of its position, in relation to planes and is made of nerve endings.

There are conditions which have been associated with the occurrence of benign positional vertigo more commonly than others:

-          Viral infections. Viral infections tend to inflame the internal aspects of the ear and will cause inflammation inside. Such inflammation will impair the organs inside as well as lead to the discharge of fluids that will further lead to vertigo.

-          Neuritis. This is an inflammation of the nerve. The nerve that we have in our ears is the acoustic nerve. Being the nerve that delivers impulses and sense of balance to the brain, an inflammation of such nerve will most likely produce disorders of body balance.

-          Side Effects of Medications. Certain medications have side effects to one’s balance mechanisms. These medications are called ototoxic medications and include Chloroquine, Quinine, Aspirin, Anti-inflammatory drugs, Cancer medications, etc.

-          Abrupt and sudden head movements; and

-          Ear Surgery complications.

Treatment for Benign Positional Vertigo

Maintaining adequate hydration is a known effective preventive measure for attacks of BPPV. Also, maintaining a good position when sitting and lying down is important. When changing from one position to another, one should be slow and avoid abrupt movements as much as possible.

Also, to prevent accidents and injuries related to BPPV, it is important to rest and refrain from driving, working in high areas or simply moving about during BPPV attacks.



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