Attorney General DeWine Says His Bouts With Vertigo Are Immobilizing


Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says he is feeling better after spending Friday night in a Cincinnati hospital after suffering from his third bout of vertigo.

"I'm feeling great, this was kind of a strange thing," said DeWine.  "I was in Cincinnati and had a full morning.  I felt fine when I walked in to give a noon speech.  But then the vertigo hit me all of a sudden."

Vertigo creates a sensation where your surroundings are moving or spinning.  Most recurrent episodes are usually linked to the movement of tiny calcium crystals in the inner ear.

But DeWine says something else is triggering his attacks.

"I've had it several times before and my doctor says he thinks it's related to my lifelong battles with migraine headaches," DeWine told 10TV’s Jim Heath.  "I've gone through a lot of political campaigns with migraines, but you can't do that and carry on with vertigo.  At that point you can't even stand up."

DeWine was scheduled to deliver remarks at the First Friday Luncheon in Cincinnati on Friday.

"I was in the room and there were about 60 people there," said DeWine.  "I hadn't started speaking yet, but I could tell it was coming on and I told them 'look, I just can't do this.' I can gut out most anything with a speech, I've done it before no matter how bad I feel, but when you can't stand up you just can't give a speech."

DeWine said he first went to a hotel room to wait out the symptoms, but the nausea got worse.  He was then taken to Christ Hospital in Cincinnati by family members.

"For me, it usually lasts around five hours and I'm out of it," said DeWine.  "By six o'clock Friday night I was fine and I wanted to go home.  But Fran and the doctors decided they wanted to keep me overnight."

The 67 year old Attorney General was back at work Monday morning.

DeWine says his first case of vertigo happened a year ago while he and his family were riding the rapids on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

DeWine says after suffering from severe nausea he was lifted from the canyon bottom to a facility above.

After several hours the doctors concluded it was vertigo and he was cleared to leave.

"If you've never had vertigo, you don't have a clue what it is," said DeWine.  “You can't move.  You're totally immobilized."

Experts say two to three percent of the population will experience some form of vertigo in their lifetime.

"We see it pretty regularly and it's not uncommon for people to experience it a number of times in their life," said Aaron Moberly, M.D, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the Wexler Medical Center.

Moberly says vertigo is typically not a serious medical problem.

"Just having someone say they've had vertigo at some point shouldn't necessarily be worrisome," said Moberly.

DeWine is seeking reelection this year, but says he does not expect it to impact the campaign.

"I've had it several times and it comes on fairly quickly," said DeWine.  "Fortunately it gives you enough warning that you can sit down.  It comes on quickly and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason that I can figure out.  A lot of people have a vertigo story, and it's never a lot of fun."