Find­ing Bal­ance in the Bat­tle Against Ver­tigo

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Society Scene - Palm Beach - - On The Scene -

If you are one of the mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who suf­fer from spells of dizzi­ness, you may now take a sigh of re­lief. A new pro­ce­dure called canalith repo­si­tion­ing con­ducted at the Cen­ter for Dizzi­ness, Bal­ance & Mo­tion Sickness will elim­i­nate this prob­lem in 85% of pa­tients. The med­i­cal term for this con­di­tion is Be­nign Po­si­tional Ver­tigo; it can cause peo­ple to feel nau­sea, lose their bal­ance, and pre­vent sim­ple nor­mal ac­tiv­i­ties from be­ing ac­com­plished.

At the Cen­ter for Dizzi­ness, Bal­ance & Hear­ing Loss, Dr. Jay Katz has been help­ing peo­ple lead pro­duc­tive and nor­mal lives again without the use of any drugs. One pa­tient states, “Don’t ask me what he did, even my hus­band was watch­ing and even isn’t sure, but it’s won­der­ful.”

A grad­u­ate of Ge­orge­town Uni­ver­sity Med­i­cal School, Dr. Katz trained in Oto­laryn­gol­ogy (ear, nose, and throat) at Tufts Uni­ver­sity School of Medicine in Bos­ton, and con­ducted ex­ten­sive re­search on mo­tion sickness at the Uni­ver­sity of Mi­ami Dizzi­ness and Bal­ance Cen­ter.

By far, the most com­mon cause of ver­tigo in peo­ple over 65 is be­nign po­si­tional dizzi­ness that oc­curs while the per­son is bend­ing over, looking up and ly­ing down, Katz ex­plained. It has been re­ported that bal­ance re­lated falls ac­count for more than one-half of the ac­ci­den­tal deaths among the el­derly.”

To di­ag­nose the pa­tient’s dizzi­ness and bal­ance con­di­tion, Dr. Katz con­ducts a thor­ough of­fice ex­am­i­na­tion, which of­ten in­cludes hear­ing and bal­ance tests. The bal­ance sys­tem in the in­ner ear in­volves a tiny set of three semi­cir­cu­lar canals, tubes of flu­ids shaped a bit like a scis­sors han­dle. The utri­cle is lined with nerve fil­a­ments, be­neath a sticky pad of crys­tals. Dur­ing the nor­mal ag­ing process the grav­ity-sens­ing crys­tals, called otoliths, are re­leased from the utri­cle and work their way into the semi­cir­cu­lar canal, where they float in fluid, head move­ments cause the otoliths to stim­u­late nerve end­ings, which re­sults in ver­tigo, ex­plains Dr. Katz. Once other causes of dizzi­ness have been elim­i­nated, he can pro­ceed im­me­di­ately with canalith repo­si­tion­ing.

The con­di­tion is treated by a sim­ple in-of­fice ma­neu­ver where the pa­tient’s head is tilted in sev­eral po­si­tions in such a way as to re­move this de­bris from the fluid in the in­ner ear, Katz states.

Canalith repo­si­tion­ing is a highly ef­fec­tive treat­ment and can be eas­ily re­peated if dizzi­ness re­turns or is not com­pletely elim­i­nated the first time. While lit­tle known, this pro­ce­dure is fully cov­ered by Medi­care and other types of in­sur­ance.

Dr. Katz also treats peo­ple with bal­ance prob­lems. Way too of­ten, peo­ple are told “you’re get­ting older, what do you ex­pect?”

But it is not a nor­mal part of ag­ing to lose your bal­ance, Katz said.

Cer­tain an­tibi­otics or vi­ral in­fec­tions can dam­age the bal­ance nerves leav­ing in­di­vid­u­als with an in­se­cure feel­ing when walk­ing, es­pe­cially when step­ping off a curb, walk­ing on an un­even sur­face, like peb­bles or lawns and walk­ing in the dark.

When bal­ance prob­lems arise, Katz said, peo­ple have a ten­dency to re­strict their ac­tiv­ity and then the brain doesn’t get enough stim­u­la­tion to learn how to com­pen­sate for the in­jury.

Vestibu­lar Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and Bal­ance Re­train­ing (which is per­formed in our of­fice) is very ef­fec­tive in restor­ing bal­ance by a process of adap­ta­tion and com­pen­sa­tion.

Dr. Katz also treats peo­ple with Me­niere’s dis­ease that is char­ac­ter­ized by episodes of ver­tigo that last any­where from 15 min­utes to 24 hours and is also as­so­ci­ated with hear­ing loss and ring­ing in the ears.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the treat­ment of dizzi­ness and mo­tion sickness, call

DR. JAY KATZ at the C EN­TER FOR D IZZINESS , B ALANCE &H EAR­ING L OSS at (561) 495-1960 .

Con­ve­niently lo­cated at 5329 W. A TLANTIC A VE ., S UITE 204, D EL­RAY B EACH , FL 33484 .

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