Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have symptoms common to BPPV. After an initial examination, your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist or a doctor who specializes in the brain and nervous system (neurologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
- Write down your symptoms, including when they started and how often they occur.
- Note any recent blows to your head, including even minor accidents or injuries.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including any other conditions for which you're being treated and the names of any medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
Questions to ask the doctor at the initial appointment include:
- What are the possible causes of my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do you recommend?
- If these tests don't pinpoint the cause of my symptoms, what additional tests might I need?
- Do I need to follow any restrictions while we're seeking a diagnosis?
- Should I see a specialist?
Questions to ask if you are referred to a specialist include:
- What is my diagnosis?
- What treatments are most likely to help me feel better?
- How soon after beginning treatment should my symptoms start to improve?
- If the first treatment doesn't work, what will you recommend next?
- Am I a candidate for surgery? Why or why not?
- What self-care steps can help me manage this condition?
- Do I need to restrict my activities? For how long?
- Am I at risk of this problem recurring?
- How often will you see me for follow-up visits?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I manage them together?
- What handouts or websites do you recommend for learning more about BPPV?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
A doctor who sees you for symptoms common to BPPV may ask a number of questions, such as:
- What are your symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- Do your symptoms come and go? How often?
- How long do your symptoms last?
- Is one or both of your ears affected?
- Does anything in particular seem to trigger your symptoms, such as certain types of movement or activity?
- Do your symptoms include vision problems?
- Do your symptoms include nausea or vomiting?
- Do your symptoms include headache?
- Have you lost any hearing?
- Have you had any weakness, numbness or tingling in your arms or your legs?
- Have you had any difficulty talking or walking?
- Have you had chest pain?
- Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?
- What medications are you currently taking, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs as well as vitamins and supplements?
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Vestibular Disorders Association. http://www.vestibular.org/vestibular-disorders/specific-disorders/bppv.php. Accessed March 19, 2012.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec08/ch086/ch086c.html. Accessed March 19, 2012.
- Lalwani AK. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=55771949. Accessed March 19, 2012.
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- Clinch CR, et al. What is the best approach to benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in the elderly? The Journal of Family Practice. 2010;59:295.
- Post RE, et al. Dizziness: A diagnostic approach. American Family Physician. 2010;82:361.
- Helminski JO, et al. Effectiveness of particle repositioning maneuvers in the treatment of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: A systematic review. Physical Therapy. 2010;90:663.