Notes From a “Dizzy Blonde” During Balance Awareness Week
I'm allowed to call myself a dizzy blonde because that's what I am: a person with blonde hair who is prone to dizziness. It's been a problem ever since I was a kid. I remember my father taking time off from work so he could take me to various medical appointments in Manhattan. I had all kinds of testing done. The diagnosis from the Ear Nose and Throat doctor was that I had a problem in my inner ear and I would probably be susceptible to dizzy spells for the rest of my life.
The good news is that I went for a few decades without any bad dizziness. But then 3 years ago, something terrifying happened. I was driving home from an event in Philly and I got dizzy and disoriented all while driving a car going 60 mph! While having this weird sensation I thought I might inadvertently steer into oncoming traffic! Since then I've had numerous similar episodes that required me to pull off the road and wait for the dizziness to subside. I am currently working with some new doctors who may be close to solving this health issue. I'll report back in a future blog post.
This happens to be Balance Awareness Week so I wanted to dedicate today's blog to the topic of vestibular issues; issues that relate to the body's sense of balance. In addition to dizziness, other symptoms of vestibular disorders include vertigo (which is a spinning sensation,) jumping vision, ringing in the ears (tinnitus,) nausea, hearing loss, anxiety, and cognitive difficulties. If you have some of these symptoms, you might want to learn more about things like Meniere's Disease, and Vestibular Migraines. A good place to learn about such disorders is the website www.vestibular.org.
Many vestibular issues can be treated with medication, diet, surgery and positional maneuvers. If you haven't yet seen a doctor or physical therapist about your symptoms, that website can connect you with providers in New Jersey.
The Vestibular Disorders Association website also offers tips for living with a vestibular disorder, for example, if you get bothered by fluorescent lighting, or crowded noisy places.
I've learned from experience that vestibular disorders can be hard to figure out so don't be surprised if you need to see several different doctors before you get the right diagnosis. Good luck!