Understanding The Risks Of Balance Disorders

2010-08-08 |
Inner Ear Balance Disorders

The unpleasant feeling of standing up too quickly only to be dizzy is an experience with which most people can relate. For many individuals, such balance disorders are unfortunately experienced all too frequently. While certainly being very uncomfortable, these feelings of dizziness along with the associated balance problems can also be very disruptive to quality of life and an indicator of other health risks.

Why Do We Feel Dizzy?

The human sense of balance is provided by what are called the vestibular organs that are located beneath the skull deeper than our eardrums. Under normal conditions these sensing organs allow us to tell which direction we are leaning and to detect motion. However, numerous medical conditions and medications can mess up the signals sent from these organs to our brains with the result being feelings of dizziness and problems with balance.

What Causes Balance Disorders And Who Is Most Affected?

Balance Disorders Are More Common As We Age

As a result, balance disorders are extremely common and in the US, roughly 1 in 3 people over the age of 40 suffer from such issues. In the UK, the Royal College of Physicians estimates that 30 to 40% of people under 60 are affected by problems with their balance. For those over the age of 80, 85% have problems with balance.

However, balance issues are not limited to being an effect of aging. In fact, “significant” balance issues also exist for people in their 20s and 30s according to researchers from the University of Missouri. As well, more than 1 in 14 people have undiagnosed balance problems and are often unaware that their balance is even affected. The result is that problems with balance can affect the lives of individuals from most age groups.

While aging does naturally causes our sense of balance to become worse just the same as it affects our hearing, vision and sense of taste, medical conditions can also affect our balance. Diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, Menier’s Disease and Alzheimer’s are just some of the conditions that can affect our sense of balance. People who have experienced strokes also suffer from problems with balance.

Many Medical Conditions Can Affect Balance

As well, other medical conditions can have an effect on balance because of the effects of medications taken as treatment. Research from the University of British Columbia has determined that pain killers, drugs for reducing blood pressure and drugs for reducing inflammation, among others, all contribute to balance problems. Each of these drugs are taken by taken by tens of millions of people so the result is that many are at risk of being affected by problems with balance.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Symptom Information

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