Falling Back: BPPV and Relapse of Vertiginous Symptoms in the Fall Season
Though it’s not an official condition, “October Slide” refers to the worsening of symptoms that those with chronic illness begin to feel as the season changes (Normalyte, 2021). Many people report relapse of symptoms such as increased fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, brain fog, and joint or muscle pain.
It’s no coincidence that this occurs in the fall season. With the change in weather, people tend to spend less time outdoors which may result in decreased vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D can be responsible for ailments such as fatigue, muscle pain, brain fog, and dizziness (Smith, 2022). Unfortunately, older adults have a decreased ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins so are at higher risk for dizziness caused by vitamin D deficiency (Smith, 2022).
BPPV and Vitamin D
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of positional vertigo. Often idiopathic, BPPV occurs when calcium crystals in the inner ear become dislodged and move into the semicircular canals. This causes the inner ear to misinterpret changes in head position or movement, which causes the individual to experience dizziness (Mayo Clinic 2022). Vitamin D deficiency may be one of the causes of BPPV (Abdelmaksoud et al, 2021). Other studies suggest that those who are vitamin D deficient experience more intense symptoms of BPPV (Sheikhzadeh et al, 2016). The main role of vitamin D in the body is to help maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus and to help absorb calcium (Starr, 2018).
Fighting the October Slide
Being proactive is key. Once the weather begins to change, many people with chronic illness develop and follow a self-care plan. This may include a balance of diet, rest, and relaxation. Though each experience may differ, it is a good idea to connect with a medical provider when relapse occurs. Professionals may recommend patients experiencing symptoms of “October Slide” eat foods that are high in vitamin D, participate in regular physical activity, drink plenty of water, and increase calcium intake (Smith, 2022). Medical professionals may also consider changes in medication to combat worsening of symptoms for chronic conditions (Normalyte, 2021). Timely diagnosis is key in determining a root cause for symptoms and appropriate treatment options.
By Monica Allgauer, AuD
- Abdelmaksoud, A. A., Fahim, D. F. M., Bazeed, S. E. S., Alemam, M. F., and Aref, Z. F. (2021). Relation between vitamin D deficiency and benign paroxysmal vertigo. Nature: Scientific Reports, 11, article number 16855. Retrieved November 2, 2022 from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598 -021-96445-x#:~:text=Benign%20paroxysmal%20positional%20vertigo%20(BPPV,the%20causes%20of%20its%20dev elopment.
- Are You Afraid of the October Slide? (2022, October 8). Jamison Writes. Retrieved November 2, 2022 from https://jamisonwrites.com/2022/10/27/are-you-afraid-of-the-october-slide/.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). (2022, August 5). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved November 2, 2022 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vertigo/symptoms-causes /syc-20370055.
- Dupnick, L. (2022, October 1). October Slide and How to Cope With It. Better by the Beat. Retrieved November 2, 2022 from https://betterbythebeat.com/the-october-slide-and-how-to-cope-with-it/.
- Preparing for the October Slide with Chronic Illness. (2020, September 24). Through the Fibro Fog. Retrieved November 2, 2022 from https://www.throughthefibrofog.com/preparing-october-slide-chronic-illness/
- Sheikhzadeh, M., Lotfi, Y., Mousayi, A., Heidari, B., Monadi, M., and Bakhshi, E. (2016). Influence of supplemental vitamin D on intensity of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: A longitudinal clinical study.
- Caspian Journal of Scientific Medicine, 7(2), 93-98. Retrieved November 2, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4913711/.
- Smith, A. (2022, April 22). Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms: Dizziness and What to Do About It. Discover. Retrieved November 2, 2022 from https://www.discovermagazine.com/lifestyle/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms-dizziness-and-what-to-do-about-it.
- Starr, E. (2018, August 1). Dizziness and Vertigo: The Vitamin D Connection. Team Health Care Clinic. Retrieved November 2, 2022 from https://teamhealthcareclinic.com/vertigo-dizziness-vitamin-d-connection/.
- The October Slide: Chronic Illness Flares in the Fall. (2021, October 1). Normalyte. Retrieved November 2, 2022 from https://normalyte.com/blogs/news/the-october-slide-chronic-illness-flares-in-the-fall.