I just got a meeting with a lady named Karen. She flew in from out of state to see me on the recommendation of doctor in California because she is having vertigo.
Now before you jump to any conclusions....let me tell you her story.
You'll see why autoimmune vertigo is extremely common, but undiagnosed.
In February, she had an attack during a yoga class--where she sort of "blacked out". She didn’t lose consciousness, but she blacked out.
...Over the next couple of weeks, she started having symptoms like
- difficulty getting words out
- mildly slurring her words,
- balance was off (disequilibrium).
Her symptoms look like a post-stroke syndrome.
Now, when you dig into her history, guess what she’s been diagnosed with in the past? From three different doctors:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Early Meniere’s disease.
Alll three of those conditions, in case you don’t know, those are autoimmune conditions.
And you can take it to the bank that a huge number of people that are diagnosed with Meniere’s disease...have an autoimmune attack on their inner ear.
Remember, "autoimmune" is when your immune system is mistakenly attacking you.
And to really help someone like this,t I've got to figure out what’s causing this autoimmune attack.
With Karen... I looked at that history and I immediately thought-- I’ll bet you a million dollars autoimmune attack is what’s causing her vertigo.
But her symptoms do resemble a "peripheral: vertigo; so I tested to see if she had BPPV.
She doesn’t have BPPV. Ialso tested her cerebellum function because a cerebellum weakness can cause the exact same vertigo symtpoms...And the cerebellum test results were normal.
The only thing left is the fact that she is unstable and she’s got mixed signs.
She has some symptoms that look like she has a peripheral problem, like an inner ear problem...and she’s got some signs that make it look like she’s got a cortical problem--because during her attack of dizziness she had recently, she "turns over in bed" and she gets all these dizzy symptoms.
That's tricky, because that looks like a garden-variety simple BPPV---but that’s not what she has;
Here's why...(first, her BPPV was negative).. the next day after her acute vertigo episode, she bends over and she just falls over because she feels like the room is tilted.
Now tilting, that’s not peripheral. That’s not inner ear. That’s "central."
Well, most doctors that this lady goes to, are going to miss it.
They’re going to either .....
(a) say you’re clear; there’s nothing wrong with you
(b) you’ve got benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and try to treat her but it won't help.
But...Karen has an autoimmune disease (the label doesn't matter).
I will guarantee that when I do the appropriate lab work, and analyze her immune system... dissect what’s going on... I’ll be able to uncover what’s driving this autoimmune attack.
When her immune system starts to balance again-- I guarantee you her vertigo goes away.
Autoimmune vertigo is an overlooked cause of vertigo--so much so that it's just silly.
Autoimmune is the one thing that explains all of her symptoms. I must examine her immune system and figure out what’s happening to it.
You’ve got a TH1 and the TH2 division of your immune system; and somewhere hers has gotten skewed. This "unbalancing" is caused either by an antigen, or caused dysregulation factors.
Antigens include: viruses, fungi, yeast, parasites, heavy metals, bacteria, food proteins--anything that your immune system has decided is an invader. The immune system will try to kill this antigen...over time, the attack flips the genetic switch that causes the autoimmune attack on your tissues.
Dysregulation factors include: Vitamin D deficiency, Vitamin D Receptor Polymorphism (VDRP), long-term stress or trauma, blood sugar control problems...the list goes on. These factors cause the immune system to unbalance (but there's no antigen trying to be killed).
I get to act like a detective and put all these jigsaw puzzle pieces together. I determine what's gone wrong and what I can do to manage the imbalance---no--squash the imbalance. Get her immune system under control again. This can be done if the appropriate steps are followed..
I'm seeing these autoimmune vertigo cases in my office more frequently. So, if you’re suffering with any type of vertigo or dizziness and no one can find out what it is, there’s a really good chance that you have autoimmune vertigo. You can be tested for it. I can find out what's going on. And I can help you.Karen's story shows that autoimmune vertigo is common, but overlooked and mis-diagnosed.
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© 2010 Dr. David Clark
THE PLACE FOR ANSWERS™
Dr. David Clark
Diplomate College of Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Vestibular Rehab Specialist