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Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
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Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

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BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM

Movement Disorders

From MayoClinic.com

Causes

The organ of balance in your inner ear is the vestibular labyrinth. It includes loop-shaped structures (semicircular canals) that contain fluid and fine, hair-like sensors that monitor the rotation of your head. Near the semicircular canals is the utricle, which contains tiny granules or crystals of calcium carbonate (otoconia). These particles are attached to sensors that help detect back-and-forth motion.

BPPV occurs when the particles within the labyrinth loosen and float in the fluid. In certain positions they can irritate the nerve endings associated with balance, giving a false signal of movement and causing a brief sensation of spinning.

BPPV most often is a natural result of aging. It also can occur after a blow to the head. Less common causes of BPPV include a virus affecting your ear, or the combination of trauma to your ear during ear surgery and prolonged positioning on your back (supine) during the procedure.

Doctors usually can determine the cause of BPPV. It may require a consultation with an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist or a neurologist. However, sometimes no cause can be determined.

Risk factors

Aside from natural aging, there are no significant factors that may increase your risk of BPPV. However, a prior head injury or an infection of the balance organs of your ear (labyrinthitis) may make you slightly more susceptible to BPPV.

When to seek medical advice

Generally, see your doctor if you experience any unexplained, recurrent or severe dizziness. Although it's uncommon for dizziness to signal a serious illness, see your doctor immediately if you experience dizziness or vertigo along with any of the following:

  • A new, different or severe headache

  • Double vision or loss of vision

  • Hearing loss

  • Speech impairment

  • Leg or arm weakness

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Falling or difficulty walking

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Chest pain or rapid or slow heart rate

These signs and symptoms may signal a more serious problem, such as stroke, brain tumor, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or diseases of your heart or blood vessels (cardiovascular disease).

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 


 



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Last Modified : 03/14/08 07:04 PM