Causes of Vertigo
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) - occurs as a result of canaliths (calcium particles) clumping up in the canals of the inner ear. The exact cause of BPPV still remains unknown.
- Meniere’s disease – is a disorder in which there is an accumulation of fluid and change in pressure in the inner ear. This disease also causes tinnitus (loud ringing in the ears) and if treatment is not provided, it can lead to a permanent loss of hearing.
- Labyrinthitis - is theinflammation of the inner ear near the nerves that are responsible for balance in the body.
Less common causes of vertigo may include:
- stroke or brain tumor
- certain medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- injuries to the head or neck
- migraine headaches
The structures in the middle ear that are responsible for maintaining balance contain a fluid within them. Under normal conditions, the inner ear is able to regulate the volume and composition of this fluid without an influence from the amount of fluid in the body. However, under pathological conditions, the inner ear loses the ability to regulate the volume and composition of this fluid. An increase in the volume of fluid leads to Meniere’s disease or endolymphatic hydrops. Fluid buildup causes the destruction of sensory cells within the inner ear, which can lead to a loss of balance and hearing. Tinnitus can also occur due to the accumulation of fluid.
Does diet have any effects on vertigo?
Well, it all depends on the cause of your vertigo. If vertigo is as a result of Meniere’s disease, secondary hydrops, or migraines in the case of a migraine associated vertigo (MAV), then diet can negatively affect you. Your diet can have an effect on vertigo due to the following reasons:
- Certain foods can have an influence on the body’s ability to regulate fluid and electrolyte balance. A diet rich in salt or sugar can lead to water and electrolyte imbalance. Sodium found in salt has an ability to cause water retention. Retention of water leads to an increase in the volume of blood. Aside from an increase in the blood pressure, it also causes the fluid to sip into the body cavities. This fluid accumulation can also affect the inner ear.
- Alcohol can negatively impact your vertigo. Alcohol can directly affect the volume and consistency of the fluid in the inner ear. It is for this reason that your doctor may suggest limiting your alcohol intake or completely avoiding alcohol.
- High blood pressure can worsen the symptoms of vertigo. High levels of cholesterol and sugar in the diet can lead to atherosclerosis. The narrowing of the blood vessels leads to an increase in the blood pressure. Atherosclerosis also leads to a decrease in the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the arteries of the inner ear.
- Certain foods may trigger vertigo. These foods are mostly linked to a migraine associated vertigo. Foods that may trigger migraines include old cheese, smoked meat, chocolate, bananas, and red wine. These foods all contain tyramine, an amino acid that has been linked to the development of migraines.
- Deficiency in certain nutrients in the diet can also affect vertigo. For example, a diet that contains reduced levels of magnesium can worsen vertigo. Magnesium can be found in nuts, seeds, and in green vegetables. Magnesium plays an important role in the acid-base balance. Lack of magnesium can lead to nausea, which is another condition that is associated with vertigo. A deficiency of magnesium can also cause the blood vessels to constrict, which will result in the reduction of blood supply, thereby triggering or worsening vertigo.
Anemia is one of the causes of vertigo. Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin of cells. Therefore, a lack of iron can have a negative effect on one's health, especially in people who have vertigo.
Maintaining a balanced diet that contains sufficient amounts of minerals and vitamins can help improve the symptoms of vertigo. It is also important to take adequate amounts of fluids throughout the day to prevent the symptoms from becoming worse. Fluids and food should also be well-distributed throughout the day.
Balance Through Diet
Attaining balance is important in this condition, and that can be achieved to a large extent through a balanced diet. Eating food groups in moderation is the key to a good health. While certain foods and drinks such as alcoholic beverages, salty and processed foods, sugary drinks, sodas, caffeinated beverages, and energy drinks are known to cause inner ear problems and migraine, other food groups may occasionally cause issues. Many of these beverages act as stimulants, which clearly indicate that they work in powerful ways to keep the body going. They should be avoided altogether.
Avoiding snacks that are rich in fat, refined sugar, and preservatives is a good norm to follow. Therefore, say goodbye to sugary products, jams, bread spreads, syrups, jellies, chocolates, pastries, squashes, candied or tinned fruits, as well as juice concentrates.
Cutting down on junk food and increasing a number of fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet can help your body attain normalcy. After all, they are called junk food for a reason. They form fatty deposits and provide empty calories to the body. It has been observed that the foods that cause severe headaches, bouts of migraine, and dizziness most commonly cause vertigo as well. If these foods don’t suit you, that means they are affecting your body in a negative way.
Stay away from foods that contain excessive amounts of tangy or citrus content, red meat, processed food, pickles, and other fermented food items that are known to cause trouble. In addition to these factors, please remember that skipping a meal poses a threat to your overall health in the long run. It deprives your body of essential calories and causes fatigue, loss of productivity, headaches, erratic outbursts, hypoglycemia, and dizziness. Take your meals in moderation and ensure that you eat them at a specified time every single day.