If diagnosed correctly, dizziness is usually easy to treat
Most people know dizziness. If these occur repeatedly and without a recognizable cause, a medical clarification should urgently be carried out. Because there can be serious causes behind the complaints. The dizziness can also be successfully treated in many cases after correct diagnosis, reports the German Society for Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (DGHNO KHC).
At the 88th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, the importance of the detailed medical history of dizziness will be a particular focus. The experts emphasize that dizziness can only be treated with the correct diagnosis. However, the medical society continues to say that there is often not enough time for the medical history in the day-to-day work of doctors.
Dizziness is a common symptom
More than one in ten patients go to a family doctor every year because of dizziness, and one in three over 70-year-olds complain of corresponding complaints, the experts report. In the over 80-year-olds, every second is affected. Dizziness affects especially older people in their quality of life and can lead to social withdrawal. The dizziness arises from contradictory information from the sensory organs involved in the balance system. The equilibrium organ of the ear and the responsible nerve pathways in the brain, the eyes and the position sensors of the muscles, tendons and joints count as such.
Find dizziness in a variety of diseases
"Our balance depends heavily on the functioning of different body systems," explains Privatdozent Dr. med. Stefan Volkenstein, senior physician at the University Clinic for Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB). In the press release on the occasion of the 88th annual meeting of the DGHNO KHC, the expert also explicitly points out that dizziness is not an independent disease, but a symptom of very different diseases. "These affect the body systems that are responsible for our balance," says Dr. Volkenstein continues.
Therapy of vertigo an interdisciplinary challenge
The senior physician for ear, nose and throat medicine names possible causes of dizziness, for example diseases in the inner ear, the seat of the balance organ, disorders of the balance center in the brain, but also psychological suffering. In addition, signs of wear and tear in the cervical spine in old age, which affect the vessels and nerve pathways, which play a role in balance, can also lead to dizziness. "Therapy for vertigo is therefore an interdisciplinary challenge," emphasized Dr. Volkenstein.
Dizziness in older people is a particular problem
According to the expert, the causative diseases are mostly in the field of ENT medicine, neurology and internal medicine, as well as general medicine. The forms and duration of the dizziness are as varied as the causes. In older people in particular, dizziness and gait insecurity are too often dismissed as a side effect of old age. Recently, a large cohort study in Germany identified dizziness as one of the factors that particularly affect the quality of life of older people. The feeling of dizziness, for example, prevents people from participating in social activities. According to Dr. Volkenstein "should therefore also be taken seriously and correctly diagnosed."
Central dizziness and dizziness
In the elderly, the causes of vertigo are often sensory deficits, such as jerky vision in so-called bilateral vestibulopathy, a bilateral damage to the balance organ, explains the doctor. A distinction should also be made between central dizziness and benign postural vertigo. Central dizziness is the source of the disturbance of the sense of balance in the brain and possible triggers are tumors of the brain stem or multiple sclerosis. The cause of the so-called benign positional vertigo, which occurs when the head position changes, is due to misplaced crystals in the inner ear. However, the causes of the complaints can sometimes not be as easy to determine. The key to the correct diagnosis for all patients with dizziness symptoms is a detailed medical history, emphasizes Dr. Volkenstein.
What therapy options are there?
In a detailed discussion, the doctor had to systematically clarify the type, duration and occurrence of the symptoms. Existing pre-existing conditions and possible side effects of medication should also be determined. The DGHNO KHC explains that a suspected clinical diagnosis is then carried out, which in many cases is mainly ensured by ENT and neurological examination methods and imaging procedures. "Correctly diagnosed vertigo syndromes have a good prognosis and can often be treated with medication or vertigo training to prevent falls," continued Volkenstein. As a last option, surgical therapy methods should also be mentioned, which, however, are only used when alternative therapy methods have been exhausted. (fp)