You wake up and suddenly your world starts spinning. You try your best to get up and stay upright, but the floor begins to tilt and cause you to lose your balance. You start to sweat and feel like you’re about to throw up.
This scenario is unfortunately a common occurrence among people with vertigo. At least 40% of Americans suffer from vertigo at some point and makes up for 3% of all emergency room visits and doctor consultations according to an article by American Family Physician published in 2010.
Vertigo is not a disease, rather, a symptom. It can be caused by a myriad of factors:
- An inflammation of the inner ear disrupting the receptors in your ear that help you maintain balance.
- Upper respiratory infection
- More serious underlying conditions such as CNS disorders, tumors, brain injury, or stroke.
It is important to see a doctor to determine the cause behind your vertigo episodes. If it isn’t a symptom of a more serious condition, here are a few things you can do to relieve the discomfort:
Avoid or reduce alcohol intake
Alcohol increases urine output which may lead to dehydration, triggering a change in your body’s hydration levels, and may lead to a vertigo episode. Drink enough water throughout the day to avoid disrupting your body’s fluid balance.
1. Follow medication regimen as prescribed by your doctor
Vertigo patients are usually prescribed over-the-counter motion-sickness medications such as dimenhydrinate and meclizine. These drugs relieve symptoms in 90% of vertigo cases.
2. Limit coffee intake
Caffeine also promotes urination and may cause you to lose more fluid than you should. It is also a stimulant that affects your inner ear’s nerves. If you suffer ringing in the ears whenever you have a vertigo episode, caffeine may heighten these sensations even more.
3. Change your diet
Stagger your fluid intake evenly throughout the day, avoid foods high in sodium, and drink more water or liquids when working out or when under the sun for a prolonged period of time. All these adjustments help maintain your body’s fluid balance and help prevent your risk for a vertigo episode.
4. Avoid pain relievers
NSAIDs such as naproxen and ibuprofen may affect your body’s ability to retain water and maintain electrolyte balance. Consult your doctor for alternative painkillers.
5. Quit smoking
Nicotine constricts your body’s blood vessels, decreasing blood supply to your inner ear, increases your blood pressure, placing you at greater risk for a recurrence of a vertigo episode.
Read the full article by Everyday Health here to learn more about vertigo, its causes, and how to cope with it.
Do you or anyone you know suffer from vertigo? How are you coping with it? Share it in the comments below.