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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Dizziness is usually a sign of an underlying medical problem and warrants a visit to your doctor. It is usually treatable but some treatments will work quickly and others will take time. We will look at three types of dizziness and discuss their treatments and prevention here. One of the commonest causes of vertigo is crystals in the inner ear. This is called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV for short. We can find these crystals by watching eye movements while lying someone flat from a sitting position. If we see a particular movement of the eye we can diagnose BPPV and begin the treatment. The treatment aims to move the crystals out of the way into a less troublesome place.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds To do this we need to position the head in a few different positions while on a couch. This treatment can work straight away, or some people may need to have it a few times.

Skip to 1 minute and 12 seconds Light headedness is usually caused by a drop in blood pressure. We diagnose this by measuring blood pressure while lying down and then while standing up for three minutes. There are some really simple things we can do to prevent this from happening. Firstly, we can drink plenty of water and avoid dehydration. More water in the system helps keep the pressure from dropping. But by keeping our leg muscles strong we can also improve the flow of blood. When we feel light headed we should contract our leg and abdominal muscles to help pump the blood back to the brain.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 seconds We should also make sure that we do not stand up too quickly, particularly on getting out of bed, and we should have our medications checked by our doctor if we get light headed, as this is sometimes a side effect of tablets. We can prevent a feeling of disequilibrium or unsteadiness by keeping our eyes healthy and by keeping active - to stimulate the nerve signals from our feet and joints to our brain. But if we do develop disequilibrium, we need to see a professional for some balance physiotherapy. This will re-train the brain to maintain balance using the information it still receives from the eyes, inner ear or feet and joints.

Skip to 2 minutes and 30 seconds Now we know that dizziness can be treatable and preventable, we need to recognise it when it occurs and seek professional help early to keep us upright, stay fit, healthy, and independent.

Treatments for dizziness

In this video we re-visit the concept of dizziness, focussing on how we can treat and prevent common causes of dizziness.

As we learnt in Week 2, dizziness is typically divided into three categories:

  • Vertigo
  • Lightheadedness
  • Disequilibrium

While watching the video, see if there are any changes you can make to your lifestyle to prevent dizziness.

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This video is from the free online course:

Ageing Well: Why Older People Fall

Newcastle University

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