Is the Room Spinning? Vertigo impact 1-in-3 adults over 40

There are several types of vertigo

SEATTLE. (Ivanhoe) - One out of three adults in our country over the age of 40 have experienced some sort of vestibular dysfunction. In many cases that means they’ve had vertigo.

Mary Lou’s Szatkiewicz mornings used to be a stomach-wrenching nightmare.

“I woke up and the room was spinning around and I was nauseous and vomiting for three days,” described Szatkiewicz.

Like millions of other Americans, her vertigo stems from a vestibular disorder. It took a few months, but she finally found help. 

Vicky Lerner, PT , a vestibular specialist at University of Washington Medicine, told Ivanhoe,  “She had a particularly challenging case because both of her ears were affected so we had to work to treat both sides."

Vertigo causes people to feel like the room is spinning. Szatkiewicz had the most common, BPPV, and insurance covered her treatment.  

“In BPPV you have calcium crystals out of place in inner ear and what we need to do is put them back into place,” described Lerner.

Other imbalances cause different types of vertigo. With Meniere’s disease, there’s too much fluid in the inner ear. Other vertigos stem from migraines, inner ear infections. Some dizziness is caused by neck problems called cervicogenic.

It’s important to find out what type of vertigo you have and to make sure it actually is vertigo and not some other medical problem. 

“Patients can have dizziness coming from a lot of different causes so it’s important to have their physician or primary care provider to determine if it is truly coming from a vertigo and an inner ear vestibular problem or if it could be coming from another problem,” said Lerner.

If it is vertigo, also talk with your doctor about your Vitamin D levels. One study published in an European journal found BPPV vertigo can be related to low Vitamin D levels.

Contributors to this news report include: Nicole Sanchez, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Jeff Stern, Videographer.

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