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Old 12-05-2003, 06:51 PM   #12
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Re: weird, fuzzy, disoriented,light-headed, dizzy

Hi willsmom-
Yes, I indeed avoided a lot of things...walking made me feel frightened..Simply going out anywhere did. Like you, I looked great and it was hard for my friends to understand how lousy I felt. I never actually has brief "dizzy spells".I just felt unsteady, lightheaded, un-grounded, 'floaty" all the time. But no true "vertigo" which I will get to in a moment. I am not familiar with the term "post-urography test", sorry, but I failed the test where you are standing, then fold your arms, put heel to toe and then CLOSE YOUR EYES. I toppled over every time. I can't remember if I felt worse in the dark...I think so.
Now, here's what I know about may be more information than you'll ever need but I hope by the time this post ends you'll feel somewhat reassured.

Dizziness is a very rich problem because it contains pieces of internal medicine, a lot of neurology, a lot of otolaryngology [ear, nose, and throat medicine], and a lot of psychiatry.
By now your doctor has probably figured out which kind of "dizziness" you are experiencing. There are four distinct types: vertigo, lightheadedness, disequilibrium, and anxiety.

Type 1 -- VERTIGO

Vertigo is the feeling of motion when there is no motion.

It's a feeling common to every child who's spun himself around and around. But if it happens in the course of normal daily living, it is a symptom, one that accounts for about half of all "dizzy" complaints.

Vertigo means there is a problem with the vestibular system of the inner ear -- the part of the nervous system that tells you which way is down (the sense of gravity), and also lets you sense the position of your head.
There are two very common causes of vertigo:
Infectious agents, such as the viruses that cause the common cold or diarrhea.This harmless condition usually goes away by itself within 6-8 weeks, although drugs are available if it is severe.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV. This is another harmless condition caused by movement of a calcium particle in the inner ear the size of a grain of sand -- from the part of the ear that senses gravity to the part that senses head position.You feel as if your head is turning when it isn't. A two-minute therapy done right in the doctor's office can move this particle ( called the otolith) back where it belongs and fix the problem.

Another cause of vertigo is Meniere's disease, a disorder characterized by long-lasting episodes of severe vertigo. Usually there are episodes of nausea and vomiting as well.
Other typical symptoms of Meniere's disease are tinnitus -- a roaring and obnoxious buzzing, ringing or other noises in the ear. Also a feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear. My stepmother had Meniere's and it is very treatable, once diagnosed properly.

By the way, you said something very interesting. You used the word "BOUNCING".
This is a classic symptom of something called DANDY'S SYNDROME.

Dandy's syndrome is when everything bounces up and down.One of the causes of Dandy's is from taking certain antibiotics that are toxic for the ears. Had you taken any antibiotics before this all started? The world bounces up and down and sometimes all you can do is put your head against a building and hold on. Even a heartbeat will can make the world jump.

THE GOOD NEWS IS that Dandy's syndrome usually improves and disappears over time.

Regarding vertigo in general, people with vertigo from a truly serious cause (now pay attention here! This is meant to reassure you!) also have other symptoms, the most important of which are double vision and slurred speech. It would be VERY UNCOMMON to have only vertigo and to have a very serious [central nervous system] disease.

Then we have the second type of dizziness --Type 2- LIGHTHEADEDNESS. ...which is basically the feeling that one is about to faint.

Like vertigo, everyone knows what this feels like because we all know what it's like to breathe deeply enough times to produce a sensation of lightheadedness. Usually, lightheadedness is caused by some surrounding circumstance impairing blood flow to the brain when a person is standing up.

Blame this problem on our ancestors who learned to walk upright -- putting our brain above our heart. It's a challenge for the heart to keep the brain supplied with blood -- and it's easy for this system to break down.

When blood vessels in the brain become dilated, or expand, due to high temperature, excitement or hyperventilation, alcohol consumption, or prescription medications such as antidepressants, a person can become lightheaded.

Most of the time, lightheadedness is harmless. It becomes more of a concern if it occurs in an older person, in a person not on suspect drugs, or if it happens while exercising.

The next type of dizziness.. Type 3- DISEQUILIBRIUM ...creates a problem with walking. People feel unsteady on their feet, like they are going to fall.

Disorders that can cause disequilibrium include:

A kind of arthritis in the neck called cervical spondylosis, which puts pressure on the spinal cord.
Parkinson's disease, or related disorders that cause a person to stoop forward.
Disorders involving a part of the brain called the cerebellum.
Diseases such as diabetes (when the diabetic develops neuropathy (loss of sensation) in their legs. This is not you obviously or you would certainly have told us!!
Disequilibrium is diagnosed when your doc conducts a simple neurological exam and watches you walk.

Then there's the all-inclusive nightmare--Type 4- ANXIETY

People who are scared, worried, depressed, or agoraphobic [afraid of open spaces]sometimes use the word dizzy to mean frightened, depressed, or anxious.

There's a fascinating "test" that very savvy doctors use to recognize this type of dizziness. They take the word 'dizzy' out of all the patient's sentences and replace it with the word 'anxious", "scared" or "depressed"...and the sentences suddenly make a lot more sense! This doesn't mean the dizziness isn't very real and experienced as one or MORE of the 4 "types".

But this leads me now to what they call MIXED-TYPE DIZZINESS:
This means that many people will have more than one type of dizziness. Which sounds like you.

It is common to see a person with vertigo from post-viral infection and ALSO from anxiety -- because vertigo makes them anxious -- so they have a combination of 2 types of dizziness. Or, they are dizzy because of near-fainting episodes because, for example, one doctor has put them on medications that cause dizziness, and this has made them anxious. A patient could have all four types of dizziness, but that would be REALLY rare.

Now the good news my dear I promise you, is that nearly everybody who is dizzy, WILL get better. This is because a person's sense of balance is a complex interaction between the brain, each ear's separate vestibular system, and the sense of vision. When one component breaks down, the others usually learn to compensate.
There is not a major chance of permanent dizziness. All the best experts now feel that there is no reason why the nervous system can't compensate for a broken vestibular system. People with vestibular problems due to physical "injury" (i.e. a real anatomical and physical change) nearly always compensate. So if you can't compensate when there is no physical injury, it means a problem of mental or emotional origin.

So, hang on kiddo...I'm sure the doctors will identify what's going on for sure and you'll soon be on the way to feeling much better. Try not to let the fear take over...This is not forever.

zuzu xx

Last edited by zuzu8; 12-05-2003 at 07:08 PM.