Preparing for the appointment with your doctor
Why is it important to consult a doctor?
If you experience vertigo, it is necessary to consult a doctor to determine its cause. The first and most important step involves managing the condition, so that you can get better. In order to effectively manage the disease, it is crucial to not underestimate vertigo and its causes.
How should I prepare for my appointment.
A. Ask questions relative to your symptoms
When making a diagnosis, a doctor will consider all of the symptoms you have experienced for the last few months. It is important to reflect on your experiences prior to seeing a doctor and to be as accurate as possible when describing the symptoms. The following are examples of questions you should be prepared to answer:1
- For how long did your vertigo attack last?
- Describe your vertigo attack.
- Do you feel dizzy when standing up?
- Do you feel dizzy when turning over in bed?
- Besides vertigo, what other symptoms are you experiencing (spinning, hearing loss, headache, etc.)?
- Do you have pain in or discharge from the ears?
- Have you been experiencing headaches?
- Are you more sensitive than usual to light or sound?
- Have you had double vision?
- Do you feel weakness in any particular parts of your body (e.g., arms or legs)?
Do not hesitate to talk with the doctor about the impact of vertigo on your emotions. Reflect on the experience and ask yourself whether vertigo has provoked stress, frustration, fear, or debilitation for you.
B. Medical history
The doctor may also ask about your medical history, including2:
- Medicines taken
- Recent infections
- Stressful events related to the start of your symptoms
- History of other health problems (those that are more common in people who have vertigo)
Tip: Before attending the appointment, consider writing down all the information that the doctor might ask for; be as exhaustive as possible.
Which doctor should I visit?
A. General practitioner
An evaluation by a general practitioner (GP) is appropriate for an initial consultation about your vertigo symptoms.
B. Ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT)
Based on this first diagnostic exam, the GP may ask you to book an appointment with an ENT, as vertigo is often caused by inner ear disturbances. The ENT might perform an eye exam as well as sitting and audio tests for an accurate diagnosis.3
In case of severe symptoms, such as inability to stand or difficulty in speaking, a neurologist might be the best healthcare professional to diagnose the cause of your vertigo.
Consulting with a doctor is the first step to address your vertigo. In case of repeated vertigo symptoms, do not hesitate to contact your doctor as soon as possible.
- Beverly Hospital. Preparing for ENG/VNG Testing. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:kQ_gsxr1mQsJ:https://www.beverlyhospital.org/media/614802/vng%2520patient%2520instructions.doc+&cd=14&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=fr. Accessed October 21, 2020.
- Vestibular Disorders Association. Dizziness & Balance Medical History Questionnaire. https://vestibular.org/sites/default/files/page_files/VEDA%20Patient%20Medical%20History%20 Form_long.pdf. Accessed October 21, 2020.
- Ménière’s Society. Visiting ENT, Diagnosis and Testing. https://www.menieres.org.uk/information-and-support/visiting-ent-diagnosis-and-testing. Published 2020. Accessed October 21, 2020.