Participant Page: Holiday Shopping Spins Out of Control!
She wasn't gone. She was on the ground. Without thinking - I assumed she had tripped over something or someone in the crowded store and fell to the ground. Not the case. She went to pick-up something she dropped and had a vertigo attack - a symptom of BPPV - Benign Paroxismal Positional Vertigo - a vestibular disorder.
In mid-August, I spoke to my father-in-law. He let me know that he was feeling dizzy on top of his challenges with imbalance. He went to see his ENT and there was a large sign indicating that a VESTIBULAR CLINIC was opening soon. He chuckled to the doctor and said, my son-in-law works for the Vestibular Disorders Association. The doctor's reply was, "Not many people know what vestibular means."
As a staffer of the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) and having a personal connection to the mission of VEDA - Balance Awareness Week means a great deal to me. In a short two and a half years, I've introduced the word "VESTIBULAR" to so many people. In grocery stores, at the airport, cook-outs, concerts, volunteering and countless other places - people ask me what I do. As soon as I mention WHO I work for, I undoubtly get that blank stare which shouts.......what? I go on to explain what the vestibular system and can add a check mark to my chart.
I challenge you to learn a few simple facts about the vestibular system and pass it along.
Top Ten Facts about Vestibular Disorders
- The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process sensory information involved with balance.
- Over 35% of US adults aged 40 years and older (69 million Americans) have had a vestibular dysfunction at some point in their lives.
- Vestibular disorders can be caused by disease, injury, poisoning by drugs or chemicals, autoimmune causes, traumatic brain injury, or aging. Many vestibular disorders occur from unexplained causes.
- Symptoms of vestibular disorders include dizziness, vertigo (a spinning sensation), imbalance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fatigue, jumping vision, nausea/vomiting, hearing loss, anxiety, and cognitive difficulties.
- Vestibular disorders are difficult to diagnose. It is common for a patient to consult 4 or more physicians over a period several years before receiving an accurate diagnosis.
- There is no “cure” for most vestibular disorders. They may be treated with medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes (e.g. diet, exercise), surgery, or positional maneuvers. In most cases, patients must adapt to a host of life-altering limitations.
- Vestibular disorders impact patients and their families physically, mentally, and emotionally. In addition to physical symptoms such as dizziness and vertigo, vestibular patients can experience poor concentration, memory, and mental fatigue. Many vestibular patients suffer from anxiety and depression due to fear of falling and the loss of their independence.
- Common vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière’s disease, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, and vestibular migraine.
- In the US, medical care for patients with chronic balance disorders exceeds $1 billion per year.
- The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) is the largest patient organization providing information, support, and advocacy for vestibular patients worldwide.
A big thank you to all the medical professionals I've had the privilege to work with over the years. My hat is off to you for staying in such a challenging line of work that is commonly misunderstood and frequently dismissed.