The Link Between Dementia and Vertigo

Memory loss in itself can be terrifying, especially as you get older. No one wants to think they're on the road to dementia and forgetting all the things they once loved. But adding in other issues, such as vertigo, can make this transition even scarier for you. 

This is where our skilled team comes in. At the Neurology Center for Epilepsy and Seizures, we aim to help you navigate your symptoms and land on a diagnosis. Dr. Amor Mehta helps you understand what's going on with your body and gives you realistic treatment options.

Vertigo explained

It's common to get the terms vertigo and dizziness confused with each other. Although both terms are similar, the causes of each problem are different from the other. 

Vertigo refers to the actual feeling that your surroundings are spinning or moving when they aren't. Dizziness, on the other hand, is a broad term to describe the feeling of being light-headed and losing your balance. 

Vertigo differs from dizziness because it’s caused by an issue in your central nervous system or a problem with your inner ear. Since your central nervous system is a pretty broad term, it’s good to understand the conditions that may cause you to have episodes of vertigo. Some of these causes include:

If none of these issues are the cause of your vertigo, it’s most likely due to problems within your ear that are disrupting your balance. Meniere’s disease and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo are inner ear conditions that can cause you to experience vertigo episodes due to the disruption in your centers for balance.

Although balance issues are probably the most common symptom of vertigo, it can also produce other problems such as:

Vertigo can be linked to many other diseases and disorders, or it can be an issue all in itself. However, when signs of memory loss are involved, you might be dealing with an early indication of dementia.

What is dementia? 

Dementia refers to symptoms connected to the loss of memory, thinking, and decreasing social abilities. These symptoms can often be so severe that they affect your everyday life and functioning. Dementia isn't the primary disease, though; there's usually another diagnosis causing dementia symptoms.

There are a lot of different medical disorders that are linked to dementia. Some of these problems are categorized under progressive dementia. These types of medical problems include:

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of progressive dementia that affects older people with the above conditions. However, if you have memory loss alone, it doesn't always mean that you’re dealing with a form of dementia. 

Dementia and vertigo: Are they linked?

To understand how these disorders are linked, you first need to know something about your brain. Your cerebellum is the part of your brain that controls your body movements. When there is a problem with this part of your brain, it can cause balance issues, like vertigo. 

Because of this, episodes of vertigo are sometimes the first sign that you may be getting dementia. This is especially true when talking about vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease because they affect the balance center of your brain.

When you consider vertigo, vascular dementia is the one type of dementia that should come to your mind. This is because, with this disease, there’s a problem getting oxygenated blood to flow to your cerebellum. Because this part of your brain is vital to body movement, any disruption in blood flow can cause you to feel as though you’re spinning, along with episodes of dizziness.

With vascular dementia, vertigo is one of the first symptoms you’ll experience before any of the other signs begin to show. Alzheimer’s disease is similar because vertigo may be one of the earlier signs you may experience. There’s a specific form of this disease called posterior cortical atrophy, affecting your cerebellum, leading to vertigo and balance problems.

As you can see, vertigo and dementia often go hand in hand together. However, just because you’ve been diagnosed with one doesn’t always mean you’ll experience the other. If you aren’t sure of your symptoms, make sure Dr. Mehta knows how you feel so he can help you come to a proper diagnosis.

When you've had enough of constant forgetfulness, call our office at 732-856-5999 to make an appointment or schedule a consultation online today.

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