Sunday, January 15, 2006

vertigo (dizziness, dysequilibrium, fainting)

Vertigo is one of the most common symptoms in old age. Vertigo may be caused by changes in blood pressure, diagnostic tests, vascular lesions, poorly fitted hearing aid or eyeglasses, inner ear defects, heart disorders, drug reactions, or Meniere's disease (disease characterized by vertigo, nausea, vomiting, tinnitus, and progressive deafness).
Symptoms of vertigo include light-headedness, diminished vision and hearing, nausea, headache, vomiting, and difficulty sitting up from the prone position, walking, and making quick turns. Faintness or loss of consciousness may indicate cardiac disorders.
Treatment for vertigo should include determining the cause of the dizziness and then appropriately treating it. The person who is experiencing dizziness should be instructed to sit on the edge of the bed before getting up to walk and to make use of handrails whenever possible. If drugs are determined to be causing the dizziness, the drug or dosage should be altered. Antihypertensive drugs (drugs to lower blood pressure) and sedatives are the drugs most likely to cause dizziness. If cardiac disorders are found, the person may require hospitalization to determine the proper treatment.
Phipps, W. J. Medical Surgical Nursing, 2nd ed. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1983.
Steinberg, F. U. Care of the Geriatric Patient, 6th ed. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1983.

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