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Dizziness and Vertigo: When to see a Doctor

Seeing a Doctor for Vertigo or Dizziness

How do you know when to see a neurologist about dizziness or vertigo? That’s a question we hear all the time. If you are experiencing dizziness or feel off balance, you should see your doctor. Your doctor will ask you questions and will perform some tests to evaluate whether you should see a specialist.

If you have any of the following symptoms along with dizziness, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. These symptoms may be a sign of a stroke or other life-threatening problem.

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding others who are speaking
  • Slurred speech or a hoarse voice
  • Numbness or weakness in the face or extremities, especially if it’s on one side
  • Tremors or clumsiness
  • Vision problems, like difficulty seeing or double vision
  • Unequal pupil size
  • A drooping eyelid on one side
  • Inability to stand even if holding onto a stationary object
  • Sudden or severe vomiting without known cause
  • Sudden, severe headache or neck pain without known cause

If you have been experiencing vertigo for more than a day or two, it’s so severe that you can’t stand or walk, or you are vomiting frequently and can’t keep food down, you should make an appointment with a neurologist.

While your doctor may be able to determine the cause of your dizziness, a neurologist has the tools and tests available to diagnose and treat whatever the root cause is.

Diagnosing Vertigo

When you see a neurologist for dizziness, he or she will likely do a full neurological exam and may perform other tests to help make an accurate diagnosis. Depending on the suspected cause, those tests may include:

  • Eye movement testing: Eye movement testing watches the path of the eyes when someone is tracking an object in motion. It may also be done after a doctor places water or air into the ear canal.
  • VNG: VNG is short for videonystagmography. This test can be used to check for signs of nystagmus, which is a condition that can be caused by a problem in the organs that help with balance. During the test, you will wear goggles and will be asked to look at still and moving objects. A video camera in the goggles with record and analyze your eye movements.
  • ENG: ENG is short for electronystagmography. This test is similar to VNG, but instead of using goggles around the eyes, it uses electrodes to sense eye movement.
  • MRI: An MRI scan may be done if you had a head injury or your doctor suspects an acoustic neuroma or another type of brain tumor might be causing dizziness or vertigo.
  • Posturography: Posturography tests your balance using a machine that can gather information about how you use your vision, sensations, and input from your ear to maintain your balance. The results of this test can be useful in planning your rehabilitation and monitoring the effectiveness of your treatment.

Vertigo Treatment at Beaumont

If you have dizziness or vertigo, doctors at Beaumont can help. Beaumont neurologists use the latest tools to diagnose and treat neurological conditions, for patients of all ages. From acute brain injuries to chronic conditions, we are the most preferred destination for neurology services in Southeast Michigan.

Specialized centers for neurological care

Beaumont Health’s specialized neurology centers connect you with the specialists you need, in one place, at one time – whether you need a neurological exam or more specialized services.

Call 800-633-7377 today to make an appointment to see a Beaumont neurologist.