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Dealing with vertigo

health and fitness Updated: Aug 19, 2012 17:49 IST

Hindustan Times
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If you are one of those people who frequently suffer from dizzy spells, feel light-headed or lose your balance, then you might be suffering from vertigo. Vertigo- characterised by a whirling or spinning movement, is a type of dizziness where there is a feeling of motion even when one is stationary.

It is commonly associated with vomiting, nausea, unsteadiness and excessive perspiration. Blurred vision, difficulty in speaking, a lowered level of consciousness, weakness and hearing loss may also occur.

Vertigo occurs due to a variety of causes including brain tumour, high or low blood pressure, head injuries, diabetes, or psychological stress. The dizziness usually gets better by itself or is easily treated. However, it can also be a symptom of other disorders. Some medicines may cause dizziness or problems with your ear. Motion sickness can also make you dizzy. Migraine may also cause vertigo.

Bacterial infections of the inner ear are treated with antibiotics, while anxiety disorders respond well to counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy. Other treatments include bed rest, medication to dampen the sensation of dizziness and some balancing exercises to ‘retrain’ the nervous system.

Diet tips
* Ginger relieves dizziness and nausea.
* The herb ginkgo biloba improves circulation. Take 120 mg daily.
* Take B12 supplements along with regular B complex as they help promote balance and are necessary for normal brain and central nervous system function.
* Co-enzyme Q10 helps improve circulation
to the brain. Take 100 mg daily for three months.
* Magnesium and B-vitamins are found in whole grain bread and cereals, brown rice, oats, etc. These help to improve balance and reduce dizziness.
* The oils in cold water fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that may help to reduce inflammations, which are a potential cause of vertigo.
* Flax seeds and walnuts are also sources of omega-3 fatty acids and should be included in one’s diet.
* Reduce salt by avoiding potato chips, salted nuts and other snack foods.
* Stay well hydrated by consuming water, low fat milk, soya milk, herbal tea and juices. Fruits and vegetables such as berries tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, carrots celery and citrus fruits enhance hydration.
* Avoid alcohol, coffee, tobacco and food that is high in fat, sugar or cholesterol.
If a person is having an episode of vertigo, he should not operate machinery until his doctor says it is safe to do so. Unexpected attacks can be life-threatening if the attack becomes pervasive. If you are experiencing brief bouts of symptoms, but have not yet referred the condition to doctor, thinking that they are only ordinary dizzy spells, it is time to take some precautions to overcome vertigo and any potential illness associated with it.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre