WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - About one dozen residents attended a workshop to learn more about vertigo at the Wood-Ridge Senior Center last Thursday.

According to Dr. Aylin Mahmut, 5% of the population under 40 years old suffers from vertigo. For those older than 40, that number rises to 35% who suffer from chronic vertigo. One in three people experience dizziness as part of everyday life, she added.

Vertigo originates in the body's vestibular system. There are three tubes in each ear filled with fluid and floating crystals. Information going to the brain from each ear must match, or will result in spinning or dizziness. Mahmut said sometimes the crystals "can be stuck and send confusing information to the brain." Another component is the body's balance system, which takes into account vision, hearing (ears), and feet. 

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When Mahmut sees a patient with dizziness or vertigo, she will first determine if there are any vision issues and stabilize the gate which would affect balance. She will also determine whether there might be any underlying health issues which could contribute to it, such as high blood pressure or stroke. Mahmut also said that the onset of allergies in the spring or fall could trigger vertigo. She said it would take between two to three treatments for it to be gone, and a "majority of the patients feel a difference after the first session."

Mahmut explained that some people close their eyes in an attempt to stop the spinning, but "that's the wrong thing to do." Instead, she tells people to keep their eyes open and look at a point on the wall - it may be a clock or a door knob - fix your gaze and it " will decrease the symptoms quicker."

After the 30-minute presentation, Mahmut stayed and answered questions.

Get Well Physical Therapy is located at 253 Valley Boulevard in Wood-Ridge, NJ.


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