Vertigo–Or Just a Dizzy Broad? Update…
Is there an epidemic of vertigo, or just a lot of dizzy broads (or guys) out there? Since I began having vertigo attacks in 2009, I’ve discovered that a good number of people I know also suffer from dizzy spells of one sort or another. Just this week I learned my stepdad, as well as a female friend, are the latest victims. In my circle of friends and family, there are at least ten of us, mostly women. In an online author group I belong to, five out of twenty-four members have been sufferers at one time or another. Symptoms for most of these people are severe enough that they’ve sought medical help to determine the cause, and have run the gamut of tests (ENT, EEG, MRI, etc.). Some were cured. Some (like myself) thought they were cured only to have the vertigo return years later.
Although there has been no definitive diagnose for me, which is usually the case with vertigo, I’ve been treated for BVVP (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo); Meniere’s disease (ruled out by first doctor, but not by the second doctor); pinched nerve in my neck, and a vascular issue. My last doctor told me to give up salt, caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol (everything I love!). Just shoot me. He also suggested a series of antibiotic injections into my inner ear. And if that didn’t do the trick, then surgical removal of my inner ear!
As a self-diagnoser (is that a word?), I usually hit the Search engines on the internet before I run to the doctor. My GP knows this and jokingly asks me, “So what do you think you have?” The internet is loaded with blogs relating to vertigo sufferers. Reading their comments is not only unsettling, it’s downright depressing and scary. Ongoing vertigo is not only frustrating, but can be debilitating. An episode can strike at any time. Severe vertigo can knock you off your feet and be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Many victims suffer anxiety that can lead to a host of stress disorders.
The cause or diagnose is irrelevant. My question is this: why are so many people now effected by vertigo? Most vertigo cases seem to be inner ear related. BVVP is a common disorder usually caused by misplaced crystals in the inner ear, and in most cases is successfully treated with exercise. What causes these crystals to get misplaced? Cell phones and iPods?* Pollution? What about the other cases? Has a new virus popped up, one that targets the inner ear? Is there something in the air, the water, the diet, or maybe a bug bite? What’s happening to cause this epidemic of ear disorders?
I have a theory for my own case history. It’s pure speculation, and if it’s true, it doesn’t get me any closer to a solution, but it’s something. I suspect I contracted West Nile fever from a mosquito bite while on a camping trip in a county with a high West Nile Virus status (several bitten horses and cows died that summer). Within days of that bite, I came down with flu-like symptoms, accompanied by a rash on my torso, and peeling palms and soles. A blood test confirmed a viral infection. West Nile is a virus. However, I was not tested for West Nile virus because that particular analysis must be done through the dreaded spinal tap. Ouch, no thank you. Since there’s no treatment for West Nile, subjecting myself to such an extreme (and painful) test, just to say I did or didn’t have the virus, seemed irrational. Even if it were West Nile, it doesn’t prove a connection to my vertigo, but as I said, it’s merely a theory. That, and two bucks, will buy you a cup of Starbucks coffee.
Not long after that, I developed tinnitus, followed by the vertigo. A mosquito bit my daughter-in-law during the same camping trip. Within a month, she suffered an extreme vertigo reaction that kept her bedridden for a solid week. Recently she developed tinnitus, as well. Coincidence? The tiny mosquito, along with the flea and tick, have infected or killed tens of millions throughout history. An epidemic or a coincidence? Although I may never find an answer for why I have vertigo, I’d be okay with not knowing if only the vertigo went away and never came back. I am, however, curious about the increase in vertigo cases.
If you’ve ever had vertigo episodes, please share. If you have a theory–or even better–a solution, this dizzy broad would love to hear it.
*Read article on Cell Phone Illnesses:
Follow Up 2013: For 2 months and 20 days, I had no vertigo episodes. Yahoo! In October of 2012, I’d abandoned the diet of no salt, caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate and instead added two supplements (Ginkgo biloba and Vitamin B12 1000 mcg), along with lots of water to keep me well hydrated. I hadn’t felt so good in ages. Two days ago I had an episode, which was very discouraging. However, I’m hoping it was a fluke. I thought back to what I’d consumed. The last three times I’ve had an episode, I’d eaten shellfish the night before (lobster twice, and shrimp once). Connection? Trigger? I don’t know. It may not be food at all. Blood test results I received yesterday show I have a HIGH TSH (Thyroid). Could that be the culprit? Waiting for a call from my doctor. I’ll let you know.