Diseases and disorders of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck negatively impact the lives of millions around the world. Our health information, created by our member physicians, provides a basic overview of diagnoses and treatment for many of these conditions.  
Feeling unsteady or dizzy can be caused by many factors such as poor circulation, inner ear disease, medication usage, injury, infection, allergies, and/or neurological disease. Dizziness is treatable, but it is important for your doctor to help you determine the cause so that the correct treatment is implemented.
01. What is Vertigo/Dizziness?
02.  What is Meniere's Disease?


01.  What is Vertigo/Dizziness?

Vertigo occurs when there is conflict between the signals sent to the brain by various balance and position-sensing systems of the body.  Your brain uses input from four sensory systems to maintain your sense of balance and orientation to your surroundings.

Vision gives you information about your position and motion in relationship to the rest of the world.  This is an important part of the balance mechanism and often overrides information from the other balance-sensing systems.

Sensory nerves in your joins allow your brain to keep track of the position of your legs, arms, and torso.  Your body is then automatically able to make tiny changes in posture that help you maintain your balance (proprioception)

Skin pressure sensation gives you information about your body's position and motion in relationship to gravity.

A portion of the inner ear, called the labyrinth, which includes the semicircular canals, contains specialized cells that detect motion and changes in position, Injury to or diseases of the inner ear can send false signals to the brain indicating that the balance mechanism of the inner ear (labyrinth) detects motion,  If these false signals conflict from the other balance and positioning centers of the body, vertigo may occur.

  Common causes of vertigo include:
Inner ear disorders, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV),
  Meniere's disease, vestibular neurities, or labyrinthitis.
Injury to the ear or head.
Migraine headaches, which are painful, debilitating headaches that often occur
  with vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, noise, and smell.
Decreased blood flow through the arteries that supply blood to the base of the brain (vertebrobasilar insufficiency)
  Less common causes of vertigo include:
A noncancerous growth in the space behind the eardrum (cholesteatoma)
Brain tumors and cancer that has traveled from another part of the body (metastatic)
  Immediate medical attention is needed if vertigo occurs suddenly with loss of function. Vertigo that occurs with the loss of function in one area of the body can mean a problem in the brain, such as a stoke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Alcohol and many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause lightheadedness or vertigo.  These problems may develop from:

Taking to much of a medicine (overmedicating)
Alcohol and medicine interactions. This is a problem, especially for older adults, who may take many medicines at the same time.
Misusing or abusing a medicine or alcohol
Drug intoxication or the effects of withdrawal.

02.  What is Meniere's Disease?

Meniere's disease, also called idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops, is a disorder of the inner ear. Although the cause is unknown, it probably results from an abnormality in the fluids of the inner ear. Meniere's disease is one of the most common causes of dizziness originating in the inner ear. In most cases only one ear is involved, but both ears may be affected in about 15% of patients. Meniere's disease typically starts between the ages of 20 and 50 years. Men and women are affected in equal numbers.


Cape Cod Ear, Nose, & Throat Specialists. Head & Neck Surgery, P.C.
65 Cedar Street, Hyannis, MA 02601
(508) 790-0611