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I've spent weeks now chasing a solution to my dad's constant complaint of dizziness. It's been 24/7 for well over a month. He has a history of vertigo, which was seemingly solved by an outpatient surgical procedure on his ear last fall. But now it's back and unrelenting. On our own we tried ginger, both the pills and oil, which upset his stomach greatly. We've seen the ENT multiple times, who has tried several meds to no effect. Next a visit to a neurologist who believes the issue is degenerative damage in his neck causing less than good spinal fluid flow, and hence issues with dizziness, as well as the shuffling walk and unsteady gait we've seen for a few years now. The neck issue is alleviated with a neurosurgery that no one is willing to do on an 86 year old with heart disease. Family practice doc says we could see 5 more specialists and they'd each likely find another cause for the dizziness as it's so multi factorial. He wrote a Rx for a new rollator walker and advised being careful. ENT doc has been called back as he was waiting to hear what neurologist thought, so we don't know if he will have anything left in his bag of tricks. I know we're officially at the age of more problems with less answers, but thought I'd see if anyone had any thoughts or experiences that we haven't heard?
My dad is still living alone in his house with lots of help from me. He's adamant that he won't live with me and doesn't want anyone living with him. He has a sound mind. He completely freaks out at the cost of assisted living every time we look, but knows it may soon reach the point of no choice.

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There is a support website (VEDA) you might want to check into it. They also have a facebook site.
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May the AMA's despair be your Dad's hope, Daughter.

Whether or not you will relish this prospect will depend on your personal sense of humour, but is he planning to tell his PCP about this? On a need-to-know basis, he ought to.
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This is really good news! What parts of the body did the chiropractor manipulate? It seems as if he knows something the medical doctors missed.

I'd really be interested in learning more about this treatment method, and the PT that your father is getting. What specific workouts is he doing in PT?

Thanks for sharing the good news.
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Update if anyone is still following our dizziness saga---I mentioned to my dad after our seemingly endless round of doctors that weren't getting anywhere on the issue that I wondered if a chiropractor could do anything. I really had no idea. He asked his primary care doc, who my dad regards as practically the fourth member of the trinity, and he said absolutely not, don't let a chiropractor touch you. So the subject was dropped. Next, a lady at dad's church told him she'd struggled with constant dizziness until she saw a chiropractor and now she never had it. He got the name and made an appt. I normally take him to all appts but couldn't go to this. He came away totally impressed, has also seen a PT the chiropractor recommended (though previous PT didn't help anything) and says he feels better already. He goes back to both tomorrow and says he feels encouraged. After weeks of total discouragement it's hard to not join his newfound optimism. I'll plan to take him for
the next visit so I can get a more informed opinion. Thoughts anyone?
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No laughing! My dad complained of vertigo for years! He had scans and the cold water in the ear, and found nothing that worked. He found an article online about cider vinegar....something about drinking cider vinegar mixed with water three times a day...he swore it fixed the problem, he was in his eighties....
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My FIL suffers from dizziness and it's been getting worse. He's had cardiac tests. Head scans. He waddles like a duck and has fallen over. Recently he got anxiety meds but the dizziness predates those. According to FIL, nothing has been found to explain it.

Many doctors overprescribe medications. They overprescribe because it's easy.

There are medical doctors called clinical pharmacologists who specialize in drugs and their interactions. You may want one to look at your dad's meds.

Geriatricians also know a lot more about drugs and prescribing them in elders than regular internists do. Drugs affect old people differently, as they affect children differently.

I would also trust a good pharmacist to review your dad's meds. There may not be a dangerous interaction - pharmacies have computer systems that check for those - but a pharmacist knows things about meds that physicians don't.

Remember that our health care "system" is fragmented. Doctors also will hardly ever criticize each other. So we have to be our own health care advocates and ask questions like why something is being prescribed. Most drugs are not tested on women or on old people. But doctors often fail to take that into consideration before whipping out the Rx pad.

I've been dizzy before and it sucks. I understand why your dad, like my FIL, would like to get rid of it.
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Angelkw, You have a good point. I am allergic to onions and garlic. I know horrible. If I get too much I get dizzy as well as a lot of other problems. My ex was allergic to Bermuda grass seeds, and he would get headaches and dizzy.
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Gosh, this one is vexing. From my experience with my mom's GP (who's supposed to be a geriatric specialist), I've had to bring side effects of the drugs she's on to his attention every time. So if I were you I'd be inclined to do my own search for the specific meds he's on and their side effects and drug interaction precautions. My mom has suffered from daily headaches for about five years with no relief. Her GP didn't have any ideas left for trying to help her. Finally he was out one day when she was having a particularly bad headache, so she needed to see the doc who subs for him. That doc referred her to a headache clinic, and the headache clinic doc immediately spotted a med change that he thought would help. Voila, she no longer has daily severe headaches and is much more her normal self. I would not give up on this -- go ahead and get referrals to these five specialists, one at a time, and try what they suggest and see if it helps. One of them might hit on the solution and bring your dad relief.

Just a side note, recent research has shown that daily use of Benadryl can bring on or worsen dementia. Google anticholinergics and dementia before diving into that. It's also a powerful sedative and could make him sleepy all the time, which probably isn't desirable. If relieving his allergies works to lessen the dizziness, see if there's some kind of mild prescription med he could take for allergies instead, like Singulair.

Long shot -- have you asked the doctor about Ménière's disease? It can cause severe dizziness.

I'm also concerned about your dad's depressive reaction, it's entirely natural of course, given the situation, but not something to overlook. One thing at a time though!

Best of luck with helping your dad. It's so tough dealing with a daily issue like this.
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Gees, I wish we could edit these things. My spelling is not that bad!
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I have issues with BPV and have bout that last anywhere from a couple of days to 2-3 weeks. One thing I've identified is when in it windy, all the pollen/mold is stirred up and sure enough, I get another bout of dizzyness. (Mine is not room spinning, but more of feeling giddy, lightheaded, tired, hard to concentrate, have to be careful not to turn fast) Sometimes antihistamines help. Other times I resort to valium either 1 or 2 mg.
The ENT doctor gave me exercise (which I understand do help) but I've never tried it. I admit, I'm just too busy to bother and can't discipline myself to take the time every day!
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Daughter: This is a long shot, but perhaps it's a virus. I had constant dizziness for abt six months (about a hundred years ago, in my 30s). I went to my GP and every consultant under the sun: no cause was found. Then one day it stopped, just like that. Some time later, I heard abt a baseball player who suffered from the same thing (he had to sit out the season), and it was thought to be a virus. Six months later he was much better.

Soooo ... just a thought. All the above answers are certainly equally valid.
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Thanks everyone for the thoughts and ideas. Physical therapy has been tried with no improvement. The Epley maneuver has been done, no change. Meds he's on are mostly for heart and b/p, with a couple for prostate and urology issues, all deemed safe and needed by Doctor. His diet is neither the best or worst, but I've largely quit bugging him about things there---I guess a few sausage biscuits are a worthy reward for making it to 86! I've wondered about the normal pressure hydrocephalus, perhaps my next thing to ask doc about.
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Dizziness is a problem for many older people. Doctors don't pay much mind when you mention it. Sometimes they recommend meclizine (dramamine, AntiVert, or other names). It helps some people.

My parents both have dizziness. I think PT is the most effective treatment if your father can tolerate the head movements. A person with dizziness also does better if they make themselves keep moving. When a person is dizzy, they end up sitting all the time, so the problem with the ear stays the same or gets worse.

I thought it was helpful to read what your neurologist said about the neck area. My mother has spinal stenosis and scoliosis, along with vascular dementia and diabetes. She says she feels like the floor is giving way under her feet when she walks. She uses a rollator now when she walks. She is 89 years old, so I wouldn't want to risk surgery if we weren't even sure it would help. I think what Veronica said is good. Sometimes we have to accept and work with what's possible. I definitely would see what medications he could safely stop taking.
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Those maneuvers cured my FiL's vertigo years ago. There is also specialized PT for vertigo, i seem to recall.

I also thought about the issue of normal pressure hydrocephalus? Has that been ruled out?

Does your dad see a geriatrician? When my mom switched, her boatload of meds was remarkably reduced and she felt better for it.
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Yes, that's it Blannie! The Epley and Semont maneuvers.
I also agree with Garden Artist about the pesticides.
And you are smart to look at all possible sources, as Rainmom suggested.

Then, after that, Veronica's suggestion, leaving well enough alone, or acceptance may be the best approach. Some doctors just announce, you cannot cure or treat everything. Especially when it comes to surgical efforts that don't have a known result, I would hesitate.

Otherwise, researching cannot cause harm.
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Sendme2help is referencing BPPV -- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo and the treatments are called The Epley and Semont Maneuvers.

One other idea is NPH, normal pressure hydrocephaly. I only mention it because of his shuffling gait that you mention. If you google it and look on youtube, you'll see a 60 minutes video segment about it.

I had a friend who's mom had vertigo and when she really watched her salt, it went away. But she had to be vigilant about not using or eating any foods with salt.

Good luck!
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Daughter, you've gotten a lot of good answers. Sometimes these "everyday" occurrences can be revealing and the cause of something which doctors cannot determine.

I also thought of something else - pesticides in foods. Do research on the foods he eats frequently to determine what pesticides are there; he might be sensitive to one or more of them. Strawberries and apples, for example, are unfortunately high in pesticides because of spraying by corporate agricultural food producers.
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Thinking alone GAs line, what about dehydration- doesn't that also cause dizziness?
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Great answers!
There are maneuvers that can be performed to alleviate some dizzyness.
My PCP copied them off the internet when I asked about this. As I was having dizzyness at the time even lying down, the entire room would seem to be spinning, and seem to continue for a time with my eyes closed!
Designed to be done yourself, or under the observation and instruction of another, the little maneuver, or exercise if you will, forces you to go through the dizzyness by gently turning your head, left, then right a certain number of times. Don't try this without finding the instructions online. Have someone with you to watch for your safety.
Sorry I don't have the name, or source. I will go looking for it, but you can start by looking for balancing dizzyness maneuvers-or something like that. If I fail to find it online. A chiropractor might know.
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Are there high sugar foods in his diet? What kind of nutrition is he getting? Too many sugary foods can cause dizziness - this happened every time I went to a Jane Austen book club meeting. Sounds strange? The after meeting foods were all high sugar foods, delicious, but unstabling. Once I thought I might pass out, so I had to stop eating them.

I also agree that there could be interactions between the meds. You say he's taking a "truckload" - are all these really necessary? I've worked hard to find doctor for Dad who shares the minimal med attitude that we do.

He also be getting dizzy if he gets up too quickly from a seated position. Is he on blood pressure meds?

I also agree that allergies could be a problem. Do you have any kind of HEPA filter in the house to clean the air?

I assume the ENT cleans his ears regularly as well?
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I am afraid the time comes in most people's lives when you have to leave well enough alone. Be very careful when adding any OTC meds without the Dr's input.
iI it is really getting him down adding a little anti anxiety or depression meds might help
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Angelkw, I have the same issue with barometric pressure, if a storm is coming I know it. Certain antihistamines will help. So will Dramamine [non-drowsy type].

My Mom had the same problem when she was in her 90's, and she tried antihistamines and that helped. The best product was brand named "anti-vert" but the pharmaceutical company that made it stopped production about 5 years ago. I was told to use generic, but that was useless as it didn't work very well. Isn't it always the case, you find a drug that was fantastic and it goes off the market :(
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Churchmouse, thanks for your thoughts, the dizziness does get him down and makes him say things like "it's not worth living" The GP reviewed all his meds (and there's a truckload) and didn't think any of them or any combo of them were an issue, but you make a good point about their effects over time. And the neurologist wasn't positive at all about the surgery, saying it could make things better but likely not a cure. It's just hard to see him so discouraged. Angel, we can certainly give some Benedryl a try and see if that helps. Thanks!
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I also have vertigo and dizziness. I have received some REALLY amazing advice recently. My vertigo and dizziness are all year round, but are particularly bad this time of year. A friend speculated that one of the causes could be allergies, where fluid gets trapped in your ears. I have extremely mild allergies..the most I get is itchy eyes so I was dubious...but I took her advice and started taking dye free benadryl. I kid you not, it worked...and now I have no dizziness. I'm sure it will come back in the future, particularly when the storms pass and the pressure goes up and down, but having this relief for now is great and I hope that it will address my seasonal issues. It is worth a try.

Angel
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Some heart meds have ototoxic side effects - they destroy the cilia, the little hair cells that pick up sound vibrations. Hearing and balance are so intimately connected that, although I don't know, I wouldn't be surprised if long-term px of diuretics, anti-hypertensives, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors and Uncle Tom Cobley and all have shot this delicate system to h&ll.

I'm afraid I think your GP is right. I mean, even suppose you could get the neck surgery done: if you were a betting woman, how much would you stake on this being the right answer? Could be, who knows? But at least the neurologist must have ruled out the only other cause of shuffling walks and unsteady gait that I can think of! - not that I'm any expert - so that's some reassurance.

Does the dizziness bother your father much when he isn't trying to get around the place? Is it possible to leave well alone, or is it getting him down and driving him crazy?
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