K27 -- July 2010 -- Migraines and Vertigo
Intro: Vertigo. It feels like the room is spinning around you. Many bouts of vertigo are caused by crystals in your inner ear that come loose. But for some vertigo sufferers, the dizziness happens thanks to migraine, the same condition that can cause severe headaches.
At first, Lori Taylor thought her intense dizzy spells were caused by high blood pressure. But then another symptom hit.
"I would get these vertigo spells which would turn into this massive headache."
There's no way she could work in the garden during one of these episodes.
"The only thing that really helped it would be to sleep it off."
"It's been recognized for over a century that there's probably a link between migraine and vertigo."
Dr. Scott Eggers says people like Lori who have migraines are three times more likely to suffer from vertigo than those without migraines.
"And the things that make us suspect that a patient might have migraine-related vertigo would be recurrent episodes of vertigo that are associated with some other migraine features."
Like sensitivity to light, sounds or smells. You see, migrainous vertigo is not the same as benign positional vertigo, which is caused by crystals in your inner ear breaking loose. Instead, it may be related to the migraine's neurochemical and blood flow changes in your cerebral cortex or brain stem. These changes may disrupt signals that relay information from the vestibular, or sensory system, in your inner ear, causing dizziness, nausea and other symptoms. People with migrainous vertigo don't always get headaches with their attacks.
Lori says once Dr. Eggers figured out the cause of her vertigo, she got medication, beta blockers, to treat it.
"Thanks to the medications, Lori almost never has headaches anymore and she rarely has vertigo. She's regained a lot of balance in her life."
"It's like, oh freedom!"
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Migrainous vertigo can be tricky to diagnose. That's because doctors sometimes need to rule out other causes as they narrow the diagnosis. For more information, visit our Website at …
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