A balance disorder is a condition that makes you feel unsteady or dizzy. Everyone has a dizzy spell from time to time, but “dizziness” can mean different things. Feelings of faintness, spinning (vertigo), floating, lightheadedness, confusion/disorientation, and falling or feeling of falling can all be variations of dizziness. Other symptoms can include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, fear, anxiety, or panic. Symptoms may come and go over short time periods or last for longer periods of time.
Balance disturbances can be caused by certain health conditions, medications, or a problem in the inner ear or brain. Low blood pressure can lead to dizziness when you stand up too quickly. Problems that affect the skeletal or visual systems, such as arthritis or eye muscle imbalance can also cause balance disorders. Additionally, your risk of having balance problems increases as you get older. Unfortunately, many balance defects start suddenly and with no obvious cause.
Every second of every day in the United States an older adult falls. One out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury. Other factors besides balance disorders can contribute to increased risk for falls. For example, vitamin D deficiency, vision problems, poor footwear, and home hazards like broken steps and throw rugs have been identified as risk factors for falls.
Other problems, including fatigue, difficulty walking, problems with memory and/or focus, depression, and social isolation can stem from problems with balance. If you or your child, parent, friend, or coworker has a balance problem, take it seriously.
At Accent, we know you want to stay healthy and keep your risk of falling low. If you identify with any of the symptoms outlined here, please contact us.