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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995 Jan;112(1):128-32.

Metabolic disorders of the vestibular system.

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Department of Surgery, SIU School of Medicine, Springfield 62794-9230.


This article reviews the impact of metabolic disorders on vestibular function. Diabetes mellitus is a disorder of glucose metabolism that can be associated with vestibular dysfunction. Vertigo can be alleviated by diet management in many cases. Elevated levels of blood lipids have been implicated in cochleovestibular disorders. Treatment with a lipid-lowering drug has resulted in improved auditory and vestibular function in a placebo-controlled trial. Hypothyroidism may affect different parts of the vestibular system depending on the severity and duration of thyroid deficiency. Severe congenital hypothyroidism can cause central vestibular disorders affecting the cerebellum, whereas mild hypothyroidism may result in peripheral vestibulopathy. Endogenous alterations in concentrations of estrogen and progesterone in the premenstrual syndrome or with the use of exogenous hormones such as oral contraceptives may trigger vertigo. Metabolic evaluations for unexplained vertigo should include a lipoprotein profile, with cholesterol and triglyceride levels, glucose tolerance test, and thyroid hormone measurements. Nutritional and drug therapy may be useful to reverse the vestibular dysfunction.

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