Dizziness is one of the most common symptoms reported to healthcare providers, but 40-80% of patients do not receive a diagnosis (Neuhauser et al, 2008). The most common treatment for dizziness is medicine yet only 31% of patients thought it was helpful (Kroenke et al,1990). It can be challenging to identify the underlying cause(s) of dizziness. Remember, dizziness is a symptom – not a normal part of aging – and should be evaluated by a qualified health care provider.
If you should need to seek medical care for dizziness, describing your dizziness can be very helpful. Dizziness is considered an umbrella term – a vague term with various meanings. We encourage our patients to think of their dizziness in 3 categories:
The following can also be helpful information to share with your healthcare provider:
Write the information down and share it during your visit, especially if a nurse or medical assistant is seeing you first. Understanding your symptoms can be very useful in identifying the cause or causes of your dizziness. The time with your doctor is typically very limited, on average between 13 and 16 minutes (Medscape Report, 2016). The current health care model also relies heavily on medications to treat symptoms even without knowing the cause. Studies find that 61-89% of patients seen for dizziness receive meclizine, also known as antivert (Zee, 1985 and Sloane, 1989) but so few find it helpful. Medication can also slow the recovery process (Shepard & Smith, 1990) and increase the risk for falls (French et al, 2006).
In general, dizziness is poorly understood and often results in many visits to different providers without a known cause. In 2011, the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) conducted a survey of over 1,000 people who had seen a doctor for dizziness and some of those findings are listed below:
What can you do if you or a loved one suffer from dizziness? The best advice is to seek care with a health care provider who specializes in dizziness. One way to find a specialist is to visit VEDA’s website at: http://vestibular.org/finding-help-support. If you are in the Austin area, we would be honored to be your provider of choice. Our staff brings over 75 years of collected experience in the area of dizziness, balance and hearing disorders. We have been a comprehensive testing and therapy center since 2002.
If you cannot visit us, we encourage you to read and comment on our ongoing blogs and/or be involved in our Facebook page for 360 Balance & Hearing.
We Can Help.
We provide expert care for dizziness, balance, tinnitus and/or hearing disorders. We offer both testing and treatment services with more than 75 years of combined experience. Call us today at 512-345-4664!