Dizziness in the Elderly: Investigating Common Vertigo Causes

Vertigo, dizziness and chakkar in the elderly can result from various underlying causes, some of which are more common as people age. The causes of vertigo in the elderly can include:

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV):

BPPV is one of the most common causes of vertigo in the elderly. It occurs when small calcium particles in the inner ear become dislodged and disrupt normal balance signals.

Vestibular Neuritis or Labyrinthitis can cause Dizziness

These conditions involve inflammation or infection of the inner ear or the nerves that control balance, leading to vertigo.

Meniere's Disease can cause Vertigo

 Meniere’s disease is characterized by recurrent episodes of vertigo, along with hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear. It is more common in older individuals.

Vascular Disorders can Cause Chakkar

Conditions like vertebrobasilar insufficiency or orthostatic hypotension can affect blood flow to the brain, leading to dizziness and vertigo.


 Age-related changes in the inner ear’s function and sensory cells can result in a gradual loss of balance function, leading to a sense of unsteadiness.


Elderly individuals often take multiple medications, some of which may have dizziness or vertigo as a side effect. Medication interactions can also play a role in vertigo.

Cervical Spine Issues:

Neck problems, such as cervical spondylosis or arthritis, can lead to cervical vertigo, where neck movements trigger vertigo sensations.

Neurological Conditions:

Conditions like multiple sclerosis or cerebrovascular diseases can affect the central nervous system and contribute to vertigo.

Cardiovascular Conditions:

 Heart conditions or disturbances in blood pressure regulation can cause vertigo in the elderly.

Psychological Factors:

 Anxiety and depression are more common in older adults and can lead to psychogenic dizziness or contribute to the perception of vertigo.

Orthopedic Issues:

Musculoskeletal problems or joint issues can impact balance and result in dizziness or unsteadiness.

Vestibular Migraine:

Some elderly individuals experience vestibular symptoms, including vertigo, as part of their migraine attacks.

Include Choices:

  • Offer choices and let the child have some control. This gives them a sense of autonomy and can be reinforcing.
  • It’s important to recognize that the causes of vertigo can be multifactorial and may involve a combination of factors in elderly individuals. Given the potential complexity of vertigo in older adults, a thorough evaluation by a healthcare provider, typically a specialist such as an otolaryngologist or neurologist, is essential to determine the specific cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

How Dr. Sumeet Dhawan Can Help:

Additional reading

1. National Institute on Aging: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32809596/

  • Description: Authoritative information from the National Institutes of Health on causes, diagnosis, and treatment of dizziness in older adults.
  • Why it’s helpful: Trusted source with comprehensive information and guidance on managing dizziness and reducing fall risk.

2. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/dizziness/basics/definition/sym-20050886

  • Description: Clear explanations of common causes of dizziness in older adults, including inner ear problems, medication side effects, and dehydration.
  • Why it’s helpful: Easy-to-understand content with helpful tips for preventing and managing dizziness at home.

3. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: https://www.entnet.org/quality-practice/quality-products/clinical-practice-guidelines/bppv/

  • Description: Focuses on dizziness associated with inner ear disorders, explaining conditions like benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and Meniere’s disease.
  • Why it’s helpful: Provides detailed information about inner ear causes of dizziness and their specific treatment options.

4. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/what-to-know-about-dizziness-in-older-adults

  • Description: Offers practical advice on managing dizziness from everyday activities and medications in older adults.
  • Why it’s helpful: Includes helpful tips for identifying potential triggers and making lifestyle changes to reduce dizziness episodes.

5. National Dizzy & Balance Center: https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/what-to-know-about-dizziness-in-older-adults

  • Description: Specialized resource with in-depth information on various causes of dizziness and balance problems in seniors.
  • Why it’s helpful: Provides detailed explanations of complex medical conditions and treatment approaches for persistent dizziness.


Remember, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment of dizziness in elderly individuals. These resources are meant to inform and empower, not replace professional medical advice.

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