Varun Dhawan opens up about suffering from Vestibular Hypofunction: ‘Basically your balance goes off’

Varun Dhawan recently revealed that he suffered from a condition called Vestibular Hypofunction — a condition that involves the inner ear’s control of the balance of the body.

“Recently, I just shut down. I had this thing called Vestibular Hypofunction, (where) basically your balance goes off. But I just pushed myself so hard,” said the Bhediya actor at India Today Conclave, recalling about the condition during JugJugg Jeeyo shoot days.

Talking about pushing himself too hard, Varun added, “We are just running in this race, nobody is asking why. I think there is a greater purpose (why) we are all here. I am trying to find mine, and hopefully, people will find theirs.”

“The vestibular system inside the inner ear helps in sensing our head position in space relative to the body, and works in an integrated manner with the brain to maintain body position,” said Dr Pawan Ojha, a senior neurologist at Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi- A Fortis network Hospital

Dr Anurag Tandon, associate director, ENT, Max Healthcare, Vaishali/Noida/Patparganji told indianexpress.com that the condition can disrupt the left or the right side of the body or both such that one can have repeated episodes of dizzyness, postural instability, and extreme sweating.

“This can occur on one side (unilateral hypofunction), or on both sides of the head (bilateral hypofunction). Unilateral hypofunction can occur after damage from a variety of causes, including vestibular neuritis, vestibular schwannoma/treatments for vestibular schwannoma, and Meniere’s disease/treatments for Meniere’s disease,” said Dr Tandon.

Whereas, bilateral hypofunction can occur after damage to the inner ear/balance nerve from a variety of causes, including exposure to aminoglycoside antibiotics (which are toxic to the inner ear), autoimmune disease, congenital problems, trauma, superficial siderosis, and idiopathic causes , etc.

Meniere’s Disease is caused by a build-up of fluid in the inner ear tubes, causing episodic vertigo with ringing in the ears and hearing loss. “The exact cause is unclear, a viral infection, an autoimmune reaction or a genetic component could be the trigger,” explained Dr Ojha.

Dr Tandon further explained that hypofunction of the inner ear produces symptoms related to a loss of the normal balance reflexes- therefore patients can have oscillopsia (movement or bobbing of the visual world with head movement due to loss of the vestibulo-ocular reflex), dizziness , and postural instability.

Dr Atul Ahuja, senior consultant ENT, head and neck surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, told indianexpress.com that acute stage of the condition may last for a week such that the patient may experience nausea, vomiting, extreme imbalance with inability to sit etc.

Dr Tandon mentioned that in the post-Covid period, a lot many young people have complained of such condition.

The clinical examination along with history check can help the treating doctor to diagnose the condition. “Apart from this, there are vestibular function tests that helps detect the condition,” Dr Ahuja told indianexpress.com.

“Treatment is often symptomatic as it is treated depending on the cause of the condition,” he said.

Post-rehabilitative care includes healthy eating, exercising, supportive anti-virals, and working on one’s immunity so that the virus doesn’t become dominant again, Dr Tandon said.

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