Do you suffer from dizzy spells or lose your balance? You may be suffering from vertigo. The usual causes of vertigo could be a tumour or high/low blood pressure, stress or diabetes. But recently, scientists have identified a new type of vertigo with no known cause, that may respond to treatments.
“These conditions can be difficult to diagnose and quite debilitating for people, so it’s exciting to be able to discover this new diagnosis of a condition that may respond to treatment,” said Ji-Soo Kim, of Seoul National University in South Korea.
To diagnose this new condition, the person sits in a dark room and the examiner moves the patient’s head forward and then the head is shaken horizontally for about 15 seconds. Then the patient opens his or her eyes and a video recording is taken of eye movements. Neurologists discovered that after the test, people with this new condition had eye movements called nystagmus that lasted longer than for other people. The new condition is called recurrent spontaneous vertigo with head-shaking nystagmus.
The neurologists also found that people with the new type of vertigo were more likely to have severe motion sickness than those with other types of vertigo.
Kim said that people with this condition may have a hyperactive mechanism in their vestibular system that helps the brain respond to movement of the body and in the environment. “It’s possible that the vertigo occurs when this unstable mechanism is disrupted by factors either within the person’s body or in their environment,” Kim said.
The study has been published in the journal Neurology.