The most common inner ear condition that causes vertigo, BPPV, can cause vertigo memory problems in patients of all ages. The good news is that if BPPV is the cause of the cognitive impairment, then the cognitive symptoms often clear up instantly as soon as the BPPV is resolved.
The most common type of BPPV can be resolved in 1-2 treatments about 85-90% of the time. Therefore, finding the right healthcare provider who can properly evaluate and treat vertigo is an important step to clearing up memory problems caused by vertigo.
In recent years, I have heard of a new clinical diagnosis used in geriatrics called “Mild Cognitive Impairment” or MCI.
This diagnosis is being assigned to older adults who are beginning to forget things more frequently than is common with normal aging.
However, I have noticed that two interventions have reversed the symptoms in many older adults that appeared to have MCI.
What To Do If You Have Vertigo Memory Problems
First of all, I recommend all older adults who have been diagnosed with MCI to have their medications checked by a pharmacist for a potential side effect of cognitive impairment. Surprisingly, problems with memory and concentration can be a side effect of medications or a results of drug interactions that a pharmacist should be able to identify and help with in most cases.
The second important step for someone with MCI is to get screened for BPPV. The reason is that BPPV is the most common inner ear cause of vertigo and it occurs with normal aging of the vestibular system.
However, the BPPV can still cause mild cognitive symptoms like:
- Mental fogginess
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty with memory
- Reduced cognitive stamina (getting tired after a shorter time with mental activity)
For that reason, it is important for people with mild cognitive impairment to get screened for BPPV. If BPPV is found, even in cases where vertigo symptoms are not present, then the cognitive symptoms could resolve immediately once the BPPV is properly treated.
It is also important for anyone with dizziness, vertigo, imbalance or unexplained repeated falls to be screened for BPPV. It is easy to treat when you find the right provider, but the consequences of having BPPV untreated can be devastating.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.