What is Vestibular Hypofunction? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Precautions, and More

Vestibular Hypofunction is a medical situation that exists unilaterally, affecting only one side of the body, or bilaterally, affecting both sides. This damage is often irreparable and symptoms are persistent.
What is Vestibular Hypofunction?
What is Vestibular Hypofunction?

Famous Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan revealed recently that he suffered from a condition called Vestibular Hypofunction. After this, the search for this rare disease took a toll on the internet. It is a condition that involves the inner ear‘s control of the balance of the body. As the news took a round, the number of searches around the disease on the internet took a toll.

The JugJugJeeyo star also took to his Instagram to thank his fans for all the good wishes and prayers. But do you know what is vestibular hypofunction?

What is Vestibular Hypofunction?

The inner ear system with its fluid-filled canals that support balance and spatial orientation is referred to as the vestibular system. While vestibular hypofunction is a condition that impairs a person's balance and causes improper functioning. A person with this condition responds improperly and causes their brain to receive error messages.

Causes of Vestibular Hypofunction

The vestibular system, located in the inner ear, cooperates with the eyes and muscles to maintain balance. The various reasons causing vestibular dysfunction are: 

  • Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis.
  • Previous inner ear conditions.
  • Changes in the balance systems associated with aging.
  • Medications.
  • Concussion or head injury, blood clots, or tumors.

Symptoms of Vestibular Hypofunction

The various primary and secondary symptoms of Vestibular Hypofunction are:

  • Dizziness and Vomiting
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea and poor balance
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Inability to maintain posture
  • Abnormal movement of the eyes 

These early signs of vestibular dysfunction significantly decrease quality of life, introducing mental-emotional issues such as anxiety and depression, and greatly impair an individual, causing them to become more sedentary, affecting their social and economical aspects of life.

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Treatment for Vestibular Hypofunction

Some treatment methods seek to eliminate the cause of vestibular dysfunction, while others allow the brain to compensate for dysfunction without targeting the source. The treatment process should begin as early as possible, to decrease fall risk. There are three types of vestibular rehabilitation exercises to reduce symptoms are:

Habituation

The goal of a habituation exercise is to repeatedly expose patients to triggers that make them queasy, like specific motions and unfavorable visual stimuli. Initially, the provoking stimulus will make you feel lightheaded, but with continued habituation exercises, your brain will learn to discount the stimulus and your lightheadedness will subside. The exercises may get harder as this happens. When symptoms appear, the patient should stop exercising until the symptoms go away.

Gaze stabilization

The goal of gaze stabilization exercises is to improve vision while moving the head. The patient's objective during these exercises is to keep their gaze steady while their head moves. One type of gaze stabilization exercise involves maintaining eye contact with the target while moving the head back and forth.

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Another exercise involves moving the head to align with the target without shifting the eyes while looking from one target to another while first doing so without doing so.

The remembered-target exercise, which is the final gaze stabilization exercise, is carried out in part with closed eyes.

Balance Training

Exercises for improving balance also referred to as postural-stabilization exercises, are meant to help patients maintain their balance and lessen the risk of serious falls.

To prevent symptom exacerbation, balance-training exercises can be performed while standing or while walking. They can also include head movements and habit-building exercises. Visual and somatosensory cues can be used to increase postural stability.

Precautions

Vestibular damage is often irreparable and symptoms are persistent. Although the body naturally compensates for vestibular dysfunction but does not allow the nervous system to undergo compensation in chronic situations. So it is better to take precautions for the deadly disease mentioned below:

  • Give up on alcohol and smoking
  • Enjoy eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
  • Exercise well on a regular basis
  • Go for regular health checkups

This deadly disease affects social and occupational activity by weakening muscles, making joints less flexible, and worsening stamina. Women are likely to be more susceptible to this disease than men.

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