Innovative New Test Helps Diagnose Patients with Dizziness Symptoms

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Two recent articles shed new light on one extremely common health symptom: dizziness.

Somewhat surprisingly, dizziness is the second most common complaint patients report to their doctors, with 70% of the nation’s population having dizziness symptoms at some time in their lives. And in fact, some of the most common causes of falls among the elderly are unsteadiness or dizziness when walking or standing up.

According to Mayo Clinic, dizziness can have a huge range of causes, which makes it difficult to determine exactly what lies at the root of the symptom. Dizziness can be caused by:

  • Simple motion sicknessWoman with vertigo. Young patient suffering from dizziness
  • Drops in blood pressure
  • Inner ear disturbances
  • Reduced blood flow from blocked arteries
  • Anxiety
  • Migraine
  • Anemia
  • Medications like antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, blood pressure medication, and sedatives
  • Dehydration
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Orthostatic Hypertension
  • Stroke

This list is long yet far from comprehensive. From cardiovascular causes to mental health explanations, dizziness can be difficult to pinpoint.

One significant cause of dizziness is an inner-ear disorder which disrupts how the brain creates a sense of balance. Any issue in this vestibular system can result in dizziness, vertigo, and unsteadiness. Of the many root causes of dizziness, vestibular causes are difficult to identify; there aren’t really other conditions that a doctor can test for, like blood pressure problems or anemia.

As My Central Jersey points out in a recent dizziness-focused article, vestibular problems are more prevalent among people over 65. According to the article, dizziness can lead to falls, which are the number one cause of fractures in elderly patients and which can lead to further significant health complications and even injury deaths.

However, according to Science Daily, a recent advancement in medical technology is making health issues related to dizziness easier to diagnose, understand, and treat.
The new tests use bone conduction technology to determine whether vestibular problems are causing dizziness in patients over the age of 65. Older tests used loud noises to stimulate muscle reactions, but these tests were painful and often risked hearing damage.

The new test essentially does the same work without risking ear damage. Instead of sound waves, the bone conduction test uses vibrations to stimulate the cochlea in the ear. The ear responds to bodily vibrations and sound waves in the same manner and stimulates neck and eye muscles to react. Doctors can monitor the reflex to see if the patient has a balance disorder from the ear that is causing their dizziness symptoms.

According to Science Daily, the vibration test has considerable benefits. Rather than a sound similar to a machine gun going off next to the patient’s ear, the vibrations will be considerably more comfortable. Researchers are also excited about the potential the test has for diagnosing ear conditions in young children and infants. With any luck, the new bone vibration test will help more patients get dizziness relief.

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