Having good balance means being able to control and maintain your bodies’ position, while in motion or standing still. Lightheadedness, dizzy spells, or the sensation of spinning in circles can all be signs of a balance issues, if these symptoms occur regularly. Balance issues are common among older adults and one of the main reasons help from a physician is sought after.
Our inner ear (known as the labyrinth) is responsible for helping us balance. Intact or “normal” balance helps us walk without staggering, get up from a seated position without falling, climbing, and bending. To maintain position, our labyrinth acts with other body parts like our bones, eyes, and joints to help us get around safely. When our balance is off we tend to experience falls, in the elderly this can be detrimental to their overall health.
BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal positional Vertigo) is one of the most common balance disorders. With BPPV, you experience a brief, intense feeling of vertigo when you change the position of your head, such as when rolling over to the left or right or upon getting out of bed. BPPV is more likely to occur in adults aged 60 and older. Labyrinthitis is another one. This is an infection/inflammation of the inner ear and is often associated with an upper respiratory infection, like the flu. Lastly, Ménière’s disease is a balance disorder that causes a person to experience vertigo, spouts of hearing loss, ringing, or fullness of the ears. Unfortunately the cause of this is unknown.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one-third of adults ages 65 years and older fall each year. There are many ways to treat balance disorders, however they vary depending on the cause. If you or a loved-one are experiencing dizziness, vertigo, or other problems with your balance, schedule an appointment to see you doctor today.