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Vertigo

mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
Has anyone had experience of vertigo?

I suffered a terrifying "funny turn" when I woke and tried to get out of bed at 6.30am on Saturday. The room was spinning wildly around me - much worse than if I had been drunk - more like I was inside a spin dryer. I couldn't have even crawled to the bathroom. I had pins and needles in both arms and hands and severe nausea. I heaved a couple of times into a bucket and just brought up water.

I thought I was having a stroke or heart attack and my wife rang the emergency telephone doctor service. He said it was vertigo, possibly labyrinthitis caused by an inner ear infection after a cold and prescribed Prochlorperazine for the nausea. The spinning sensation reduced after about 20 minutes and the drugs helped to stop me feeling sick. I went for a 35-minute cycle ride yesterday to check my balance and everything seemed OK. Today (Tuesday) I feel completely normal.

I have my doubts about whether I have an ear infection as I haven't had a cold lately and I have no pain or sensation in my ear. I have a suspicion that dehydration and exhaustion may have triggered this. I am an experienced competitive runner and on the afternoon before my attack I did a hilly 5K training run at race pace in the heat. I was very tired and sweaty after the run and should really have rested. But I gobbled down a meal and rushed off on foot, running part of the way, to an event at the village hall where I sat on an unccomfortable chair for an hour listening to a talk. I didn't really have much to drink before or after my run. I felt increasingly dodgy during the talk and had to walk back straight afterwards because I was feeling a bit sick although the fresh air made me feel better. I had to go to the event as my wife had organised it!

My next race is a 5K tomorrow (Wednesday) night - fifth out of a six-race series - and I'm keen to do it as I'm currently third in my class (I'm 64) and need to do all six to get in the prizes.

I have never had vertigo before. Am I being stupid in considering racing tomorrow? Or should I abandon competition for the moment and consult my own doctor when I have my regular medication review in early autumn?

Posts

  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I find it hard to believe tht running 3 miles will make you THAT dehydrated ?

    I had vertigo just the once - but it lasted for three days and almost hospitalised me. Awful thing.

    If you say you are having a medication review - then theres's stuff you're not telling us ?

    If you think that the running brought it on then I'd definitelu think about taking it easier. Have you much lead over 4th ?
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
    fenix wrote:
    I find it hard to believe tht running 3 miles will make you THAT dehydrated ?

    I had vertigo just the once - but it lasted for three days and almost hospitalised me. Awful thing.

    If you say you are having a medication review - then theres's stuff you're not telling us ?

    If you think that the running brought it on then I'd definitelu think about taking it easier. Have you much lead over 4th ?

    Medication review is routine - normally once a year to enable repeat prescriptions for asthma and blood pressure medication. No serious health issues.

    My 5K training run was flat out race pace, including climbing a 20 per cent hill, and it was very hot. I was sweating very heavily afterwards and I was as exhausted as when I have done a "real" race. I know from experience of long distance cycling that I do tend to suffer from dehydration and bonking in the heat unless I keep feeding and drinking. I don't have a lot of body fat.

    I know allowing a few weeks for recovery is the cautious and sensible course. But I feel fine now and hope my vertigo attack was a one-off. I have a good lead over the chap in fourth place but have to complete all six races to qualify for the prize.
  • There are really only 3 ear related causes of true vertigo - benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which lasts seconds to minutes and is reproducible with position; an attack of Meniere's disease, which last minutes to hours and is accompanied by changes in hearing; and 'labyrinthitis' (or acoustic neuritis), which lasts many hours to days to weeks. The other ear causes are very rare.

    Yours does not sound like any of these, which leaves the million and one non-ear causes of vertigo. Given it was transient and hasn't returned, and coincided with getting out of bed I'd hazard a guess it was brain perfusion-related from a combination of things, including dehydration. All of which probably means racing would be OK if you're back to normal, but it does suggest you were near your physiological tolerances so taking it easy and stopping at the first sign of trouble would be prudent.

    As ever, with the big caveat that this is just chat on an internet forum and can't be relied upon.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
    Thanks, Jon. As you say, this is just internet chat, but your informed advice chimes with my own gut feeling. I just reckon I overdid it by running so hard and then going out immediately afterwards without hydrating properly. My vertigo experience was so horrible I don't want a repeat. I must make sure not to let the red mist descend and push too hard if I decide to do the race.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    edited July 2017
    I've had BPPV once, maybe twice (second time was much less severe). Feels like someone has opened the top of your head and is stirring your brain with a stick. If it is BPPV then as jon says, the causes can be completely transient/inexplicable and it may not be related to anything else before or current.
  • Imposter wrote:
    If it is BPPV then as jon says, the causes can be completely transient/inexplicable and it may not be related to anything else before or current.

    On a pedantic note, BPPV itself is specifically caused by little build-ups of debris inside the balance organs that roll around and irritate things, which is why it is related to paarticular head positions and very transient. Other short-lived (and unknown) causes of vertigo are available. But regardless of the cause, the experience always sounds horrific and something you wouldn't wish on anyone and fingers crossed no-one gets any more.

    (On a side note, if anyone does think they've got BPPV then Google 'Epley manoeuvre' (something a friend or partner might need to help with) and 'Brandt-Doroff exercises' (something you can do yourself) as potential treatments)
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,476
    I got severe vertigo type symptoms years ago, caused by an ear infection. it was like being drunk for a week, except vomiting did not bring any relief. It was treated with antibiotics and anti nausea pills.

    I now have mild labrynthitis (unconnected to previous episode) which can't be treated, my brain just has to learn to adapt to the damage. I get it worst when sitting still or lying down. Activities that force me to use my sense of balance actually bring relief - running and cycling help or even just walking or standing will help.

    I occasionally find myself bumping into a door frame when getting up from bed or watching TV for a while. Any med you have to address high blood pressure will exacerbate any vertigo symptoms. I'm currently on beta blockers, which make my dizzy spells much worse. So talking to your doctor about this at your med review would be very important.
  • aberdeenalaberdeenal Posts: 202
    I had similar symptoms a few years back and after quite a bit of hospital sessions I was diagnosed with Meniere's disease. I still get episodes of dizziness but I can tell the symptoms so tend to just stay in bed for a few hours and it goes. I also leave cycling or driving for 12 - 24 hrs after a dizzy spell.

    I would look at booking an appointment with the doctor and get checked out just to be on the safe side
  • thegreatdividethegreatdivide Posts: 5,084
    OP - I woke to the very same symptoms in 2003 and it WAS a stroke! A right sided infarction of the cerebellum brought on by a clot which was caused by a kink in an artery in my neck. Luckily I was young and I made a full recovery. IMO I would get a second opinion just to be sure.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
    Thanks everyone for your responses. I still feel fine today and plan to race tonight. But I am pretty nervous. I will make sure to drink plenty beforehand. My aim is to run steadily and to assess how I feel during and after the race. If vertigo returns I will book straight away to see my GP. If not, I will discuss it when I have my meds review.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
    Postscript: I ran last night and have had no ill effects so hopefully my vertigo attack was a one-off due to me overdoing it when training and getting dehydrated. I realise I'm getting older and will take more care in future. Vertigo was a terrifying experience.

    I started the 5K at the back and ran with my wife for the first half. I felt fine so then went off at my own pace, making up 57 places in 1.5 miles. Doing an extreme negative split was very satisfying! I finished eighth among my V60 series rivals and reckon I did enough to maintain my third place in the overall standings for the sixth and final race in September.
  • ExCyclistExCyclist Posts: 336
    Low BP and maybe blood sugars from over exertion from the day previous I'd say. In my own medical opinion being a paramedic. However without a full check up for a TIA, general run the rule with an ECG, I'd get checked over.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
    ExCyclist wrote:
    Low BP and maybe blood sugars from over exertion from the day previous I'd say. In my own medical opinion being a paramedic. However without a full check up for a TIA, general run the rule with an ECG, I'd get checked over.

    I had an ECG in February as part of an investigation into my borderline high blood pressure - I started on Amlodipine which has got it down. My GP said the ECG showed I had good heart health with a strong, regular and slow resting heartbeat - no doubt helped by my cycling and running.

    The telephone emergency doctor diagnosed vertigo rather than a TIA, and I feel reasonably confident that this is correct. But I will definitely ask my GP about it when I have my forthcoming review.
  • ExCyclistExCyclist Posts: 336
    Mercia Man wrote:
    ExCyclist wrote:
    Low BP and maybe blood sugars from over exertion from the day previous I'd say. In my own medical opinion being a paramedic. However without a full check up for a TIA, general run the rule with an ECG, I'd get checked over.

    I had an ECG in February as part of an investigation into my borderline high blood pressure - I started on Amlodipine which has got it down. My GP said the ECG showed I had good heart health with a strong, regular and slow resting heartbeat - no doubt helped by my cycling and running.

    The telephone emergency doctor diagnosed vertigo rather than a TIA, and I feel reasonably confident that this is correct. But I will definitely ask my GP about it when I have my forthcoming review.

    Get them to recheck your heart rate as sometimes Bradycardia can cause your symptoms. Investigate all just to be on safe side - no doubt you will, of course.
  • PennoPenno Posts: 26
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Has anyone had experience of vertigo?

    I suffered a terrifying "funny turn" when I woke and tried to get out of bed at 6.30am on Saturday. The room was spinning wildly around me - much worse than if I had been drunk - more like I was inside a spin dryer. I couldn't have even crawled to the bathroom. I had pins and needles in both arms and hands and severe nausea. I heaved a couple of times into a bucket and just brought up water.

    I thought I was having a stroke or heart attack and my wife rang the emergency telephone doctor service. He said it was vertigo, possibly labyrinthitis caused by an inner ear infection after a cold and prescribed Prochlorperazine for the nausea. The spinning sensation reduced after about 20 minutes and the drugs helped to stop me feeling sick. I went for a 35-minute cycle ride yesterday to check my balance and everything seemed OK. Today (Tuesday) I feel completely normal.

    I have my doubts about whether I have an ear infection as I haven't had a cold lately and I have no pain or sensation in my ear. I have a suspicion that dehydration and exhaustion may have triggered this. I am an experienced competitive runner and on the afternoon before my attack I did a hilly 5K training run at race pace in the heat. I was very tired and sweaty after the run and should really have rested. But I gobbled down a meal and rushed off on foot, running part of the way, to an event at the village hall where I sat on an unccomfortable chair for an hour listening to a talk. I didn't really have much to drink before or after my run. I felt increasingly dodgy during the talk and had to walk back straight afterwards because I was feeling a bit sick although the fresh air made me feel better. I had to go to the event as my wife had organised it!

    My next race is a 5K tomorrow (Wednesday) night - fifth out of a six-race series - and I'm keen to do it as I'm currently third in my class (I'm 64) and need to do all six to get in the prizes.

    I have never had vertigo before. Am I being stupid in considering racing tomorrow? Or should I abandon competition for the moment and consult my own doctor when I have my regular medication review in early autumn?

    Bit of a delayed reply considering your race. However I suffered vertigo twice in a year and it left me bed ridden as every time I lifted my head the room span and I could not stand up. Anti sickness pills took away nausea, although unlike you I was never sick.
    What I did find useful was the Epley Manouvre, or similar exercises where you lay and tilt your head to one side then repeat. There is plenty of videos on YouTube just look up exercises for vertigo.
    The sickness following your run may have been down to heat on your run, although the GP should have picked up on this. If you feel ill put the extrinsic motivation in the prizes to one side, there will be other offerings in the future. Health comes first, by running unwell you may reduce chances of full recover.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Nice running !
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,368
    Thanks to everyone. This forum is really useful for hearing people's real life experiences and informed advice. I am still worried about whether there is an underlying problem but have cheered up considerably this evening as my wife and I are drinking Champagne! I will consult my GP about it but will leave it until my meds review unless I get another bout of vertigo.

    I plan to get back into proper exercise gradually over the next few weeks so I am ready for the last race in the series in September. After the euphoria of feeling fine in last night's 5K, I had thought of doing a fell race this Saturday but I've sensibly abandoned that idea. A funny turn like I had on Saturday and thoughts about my own mortality made me realise how much I would miss not being able to cycle or run.
  • kesakesa Posts: 24
    I had vertigo last year after a fall and it so serious i could not walk, stand or even lie down without setting it off. Doing things like taking showers had to be supervised for safety reasons. This went on for months. I tried the Epley Manouvre exercises and these did nothing to help. My doctor told me i would have vertigo for the rest of my life.

    One day a friend put me towards a new age treatment that my doctor told me was a waste of time. This treatment involved violently moving the head in a controlled manner to realign the crystals in my ears which had apparently shifted when i had my fall. After a single treatment my vertigo was gone and have never had it since. I'm sorry if i cannot remember the name of the treatment but i hope this helps.
  • kesa wrote:
    I had vertigo last year after a fall and it so serious i could not walk, stand or even lie down without setting it off. Doing things like taking showers had to be supervised for safety reasons. This went on for months. I tried the Epley Manouvre exercises and these did nothing to help. My doctor told me i would have vertigo for the rest of my life.

    One day a friend put me towards a new age treatment that my doctor told me was a waste of time. This treatment involved violently moving the head in a controlled manner to realign the crystals in my ears which had apparently shifted when i had my fall. After a single treatment my vertigo was gone and have never had it since. I'm sorry if i cannot remember the name of the treatment but i hope this helps.

    Could well be that the part of the balance organ affected for you was the lateral canal - the Epley manoeuver mainly treats the anterior and posterior canals. Violent head shaking is not a 'new age' treatment (what I understand from this term is outside of 'conventional' medicine, and usually not researched) but has been scientifically tested with some positive results.

    If you're interested, and can cope with technical jargon, it is discussed in depth here.

    However, violent head shaking does come with its own risks so shouldn't be approached lightly.

    Glad you managed to sort yours, sounds like an awful period of time.
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