Lifestyle modifications is one of the most common and effective means of dealing with imbalance, dizziness and vertigo problems.
There is good evidence that modifying your diet is effective. Adopting a low salt diet is especially effective for Meniere’s disease. Other options are reduced caffeine and alcohol intake.
Adopting and maintaining a low salt diet is not easy. Encouragement, support and information is vital. Many members report obtaining low salt supplies is difficult, especially low salt bread. Whirled Foundation can supply low salt ingredients, recipes and encouragement.
Exercise and the avoidance of stress are reported to be effective.
Travel is usually possible with a Vestibular disorder, although sometimes not initially. As individuals vary, an element of trial and error is necessary to determine the extent and mode of travel possible. There is no reason to avoid travel because you have a vestibular disorder. Holidays may take a little extra planning but are still achievable.
Pack early so you are not stressed or rushed on the day of departure, ensure medications are in your carry on luggage and remember to include rest days in your itinerary.
Maintaining general good health is important. So along with a balanced, low salt diet, regular exercise can help.
You may need to adjust your gym workouts according to how you are feeling on a particular day or to eliminate exercises which exacerbate your symptoms. Often you can choose balance exercises in your gym routine.
Even just walking is a great form of exercise and is good for balance. Experts recommend 30 minutes of walking per day to maintain good health. It’s free, you can go at your own pace and you are already an expert at it!
Everyone suffers from stress from time to time, however living with a chronic illness such as a vestibular disorder can make you more susceptible to feeling overwhelmed with the daily challenges of managing your symptoms on top of normal daily stressors.
Incorporating stress management into the overall management plan of your vestibular disorder is important as emotional or physical stress can affect your symptoms or even trigger vertigo in some vestibular disorders.
Learn to recognise and change the behaviours that contribute to your stress and techniques for reducing stress once it has occurred.
Click here for stress tips.
Cutting back on salt in your diet is a key strategy in managing Meniere’s or Endolymphatic Hydrops. This includes the salt found in many processed foods – often you are not aware it is there and need to check the food labelling. See our recommended links section for more information. Remember to inform your doctor before commencing a low salt diet especially if you are taking prescribed medications, eg. diuretics.
An acceptable level of sodium is no more than 120mg per 100g of food. Nearly all fresh foods are naturally low in salt. Many processed foods are not low in salt. Over 75% of our salt intake comes from the salt (or other forms of sodium such as baking powder) that is added to processed foods.
Download the following guidelines (pdf documents) for choosing low salt foods. These documents were produced to help you understand the importance of a low salt diet for all Australians and especially for people with Meniere’s or Endolymphatic Hydrops who want to control their vertigo.
Quick Guide – shows you how to tell which foods are low in salt
Bread and Iodine – looks at the importance of low salt bread in controlling salt intake and recommends ways to avoid iodine deficiency. It has copyright information and contact details for the author.
It is thought that the caffeine found in tea, coffee and cola drinks can constrict blood vessels and make tinnitus (ringing noise in the ears) worse. Cutting back on your caffeine intake can be an effective strategy in managing Meniere’s. Foods that contain caffeine – like chocolate – are also best taken in moderation.
Alcohol affects blood vessels and fluid balance in the body. Excess alcohol intake may make symptoms worse.
Advances in technology bring new ways of living better with the symptoms of Vestibular imbalance. E.g. Better quality hearing aids, diagnostic tests and access to information.
Some members have reported that flickering/scrolling computer screens can bring on vertigo attacks and care should be taken to avoid such situations.
Modern architecture and treatment of floor surfaces can cause balance problems, both from the uneven surface and textures/lines used.
Glare and bright lights can also prove difficult for some individuals.
The main message is “be aware and careful”.
Click here to read about Living with Vertigo: Mental Health.