When Your World Spins
Vertigo is something pro golfer Jason Day experiences. It’s what caused him to collapse on his 18th hole during the 2015 U.S. Open.
Vertigo is a kind of dizziness that causes you to feel like your surroundings are spinning or moving — but they aren’t. It can be debilitating and impact your balance.
Your eyes, inner ear and sensory nerves all work together to give you a sense of balance. When you have an inner ear disorder, your brain receives signals that don’t match the signals that your eyes and sensory nerves are receiving. Vertigo is the result.
Jason Day was diagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, the most common cause of vertigo. When you have this condition, the episodes of vertigo are triggered by a rapid change in head movement.
There, however, are other causes of vertigo. A viral infection of the vestibular nerve can cause vertigo, as can a migraine or Meniere’s disease, which involves excessive buildup of fluid in the inner ear.
Dizziness, in general, is quite common and can have many causes, including:
- Circulation problems due to a drop in blood pressure or poor blood circulation.
- Neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
- Certain medications like antidepressants and sedatives
- Anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks
- Anemia (low iron levels)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
You increase your risk of getting dizzy as you age. Older adults are more likely to have medical conditions that cause dizziness and a sense of imbalance. Older adults are also more likely to take medications that cause dizziness.
Your risk of getting dizzy also increases if you’ve had dizziness episodes before.
How dizziness can impact your golf game
Dizziness can be dangerous because it increases your risk of falling and injuring yourself — both at home and on the golf course. And if your balance is off, your swing will be too.
In addition, it is also dangerous if you experience dizziness while driving a car or golf cart.
If you are experiencing dizziness and balance problems, you should see a physician. While dizziness often does get better without treatment, treatment is available as needed based on your symptoms and the cause. Medication, therapy and, in some cases, surgery or other procedures can help.
The following are tips that can help you if you experience episodes of dizziness:
- Be aware of your surroundings in case you lose your balance, and eliminate items that you can trip on wherever possible.
- Avoid sudden movements.
- Sit or lie down when you feel dizzy.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, salt and tobacco because they can worsen any signs or symptoms.
- Drink water, especially if you are playing a round of golf in the heat!
- Eat healthy, get enough rest and try your best to avoid stress.
- Talk to your doctor if your medication causes dizziness.
A neurologist can help you if you experience dizziness, including vertigo. For more information about neurology at Middlesex Health, click here.
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