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Ask Dr. Gott 5/9
Get to the bottom of dizzy spells
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am one of your faithful readers who thought I would never have to write you for help, yet here I am asking for your opinion.
    I am a 90-year-old female with high blood pressure, heart trouble and arthritis. I am on prescription medication for my blood pressure and heart and use over-the-counter Mineral Ice for my arthritis. I also take vitamins C and E and omega 3 fish oil.
    About four months ago, I started to experience dizziness. I felt like I was drunk. I didn't do anything about it because I thought it would stop sooner or later. Well, it didn't, and one day I felt so terrible that my daughter rushed me to the emergency room, where all sorts of tests were performed. They told me everything was normal, and they didn't know what was causing my dizziness.
    What am I doing or not doing that would cause this terrible dizziness?
    DEAR READER: There are two types of dizziness: vertigo, which usually stems from an inner-ear problem, and lightheadedness, which has many causes.
    Treatment depends on the type and cause of your dizziness. Lightheadedness can have many causes, ranging from blocked arteries to low blood pressure to medication side effects. Careful testing must be done to determine the cause. Since you have already had testing, I don't believe that your problem stems from lightheadedness; however, you may wish to see your family physician. He or she can review your medications, order repeat or additional testing or refer you to a specialist.
    Vertigo, on the other hand, is often the result of an inner-ear abnormality. It can also be caused by the vestibular center of the ear (the oval space in the middle of the ear bones) or pathways in the central nervous system. The most common symptom is triggered by the sensation of movement, similar to the effects caused by the overindulgence of alcohol.
    You appear to have a textbook case of vertigo. Make an appointment with an ear-nose-and-throat specialist, who can perform testing to make a diagnosis. At the same time, he or she may choose to test you for other causes, such as Meniere's disease, an inner-ear infection and more. Your doctor may also choose to show you special maneuvers, such as the Epley maneuver, or prescribe medication, such as Antivert, to reduce or control your symptoms.
    A final option is to try an over-the-counter medication called Lipo-Flavonoid. This product is designed to reduce or eliminate tinnitus and vertigo. It is not effective (as is true for many medications) for everyone, but if it works, it can provide amazing results.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Ear Infections and Disorders."
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