Diabetes and Dizziness

Dizziness and vertigo are common symptoms in many diseases. People with inner ear disorders usually complain of dizziness. Diseases such as Meniere’s Disease or BPPV are resulted from inner ear dysfunction and require specialized evaluation and treatment of the inner ear. However, in some of the more common diseases, such as diabetes, dizziness and vertigo are reported.
Diabetes or diabetes is a metabolic (metabolic-related) disorder in the body. In this condition, the body’s ability to produce insulin hormone is impaired or the body becomes insulin resistant and therefore insulin produced cannot perform its normal function. The main role of insulin is to lower blood sugar by different methods. In diabetes, the body’s speed and ability to fully utilize and metabolize glucose are diminished, so the blood sugar level is increased, which is called hyperglycemia. If prolonged hyperglycemia is present, the tiny veins in the body can be damaged and so various organs such as the kidneys, eyes, ears and nerves are involved. Sudden Sensory-Neural Hearing Loss (SSNHL), for example, which is a relatively common ear disease, is more common in diabetic patients and may be due to damage to the inner ear arteries or the auditory-nerve nerve. Vertigo and imbalances are a common problem in people with sudden hearing loss and can be seen in these patients.
On the other hand, blood sugar in diabetic patients may be reduced by delayed meals or increased doses of medications. This can impair brain function due to glucose deficiency. As a result, the patient will experience lightheadedness or dizziness. Patients with diabetes and their families should be well aware of the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Symptoms include dizziness, perspiration, sensory disturbances and sometimes coma. If the patient is alert, they should eat sugary foods and inject glucagon if needed.
Diabetes also increases the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, which is itself a cause of dizziness and vertigo.
Therefore, screening, diagnosis and treatment of this disease in high risk individuals can be effective in preventing these complications. Diagnosis as well as screening for diabetes is done by a blood sugar test.
In cases where the patient’s dizziness and vertigo are not resolved by routine medical treatment, the patient is hearing impaired or the physician suspects damage to the inner ear structures and the balance nerve, the patient is referred for more specialized evaluations of vertigo such as videonystagmography.