Ronald E. Snyder, M.D. Rolando Amadeo, M.D. Edison H. Wong, M.D.
Board Certified Specialists
Balance Testing at Our Orlando Clinic Could Really Make a DifferenceUnfortunately, one of the leading causes of visits to the doctor’s office are problems with balance. That, along with dizziness, afflicts a significant number of people each year. In some cases, the problem can be easily treated and swiftly resolved; in other cases the problem may become chronic, with people experiencing years of misery. There are several different problems that result from the systems which govern balance and dizziness. These result in disorientation and particularly when changing positions. Balance issues cause falls and difficulty walking. Everyone experiences balance problems differently. Even if the issues are severe and have had a marked impact on your quality of life. In many cases these problems can be successfully treated, enabling patients to lead a full, active, and safe life again.
STATISTICS SHOW THAT:
- 90 million Americans will suffer a balance disorder sometime during their lifetime.
- Balance problems are the number one complaint for those over 70 years of age.
- One-half of the accidental deaths in the elderly are due to balance problems.
- Over 300,000 hip fractures a year are caused by falls from imbalance.
- Inner Ear Disorders and balance disorders have symptoms which are virtually identical in most people.
- Balance Disorders can affect a person’s ability to stand, walk, see, think, read, or watch television. Balance problems are sometimes confused with multiple sclerosis and clinical depression.
- Children with balance disorders are sometimes incorrectly diagnosed as being learning disabled, dyslexic, or psychologically disturbed.
- Whiplash and head injuries are frequent causes of balance and dizziness.
- Ear infections can also cause vestibular disorders.
Poor Balance is Not an Inevitable Result of AgingBalance is achieved only when several different parts of the body are working together. In addition to the brain, which processes information and sends out the appropriate signal to the body’s muscles and back to the brain. Balance is also affected by the delicate inner ear and the experience of contact with the ground which the soles of the feet have, along with eye sight. These senses all combine to give the brain the data it needs to position the body correctly in order that balance is maintained. If any of these senses are not working as they should, your balance will be affected. Although many older people who find they are developing problems in keeping their balance, or who feel that they are reacting more slowly than they should when a change of balance is required, the reality is that the natural aging process itself can cause balance issues. Accurate assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the affected body parts will result in a great improvement in your balance, irrespective of your age.
What Could Be Causing My Poor Balance?As indicated earlier, if there are any problems with the eye, the inner ear, the nerve receptors on the soles of the feet and elsewhere in the body which transmit information about the position of the body with respect to the earth and your brain then balance is affected negatively. There are a large number of conditions which result in balance and vertigo problems. The inner ear, for example, can become infected, or damaged over time. Something as simple as long- or near-sightedness can cause difficulties with balance. Nerve damage to the legs and the feet, due to a chronic illness such as diabetes, can also cause balance issues. Other conditions that affect balance include muscle weakness, brain damage and arthritic. Many of these conditions are easily treated. If your balance is failing, diagnostic testing is needed to identify the cause. In most circumstances the problem can be corrected and the vertigo and balance problems will either improve greatly or disappear completely.
When Should You Go for a Balance Test for Vertigo?The following are all signs and symptoms that mean you may benefit from a balance test and assessment to establish what the cause might be:
- Difficulty in navigating in the dark – for example problems retaining your balance when walking to the bathroom at night.
- Feeling apprehensive about negotiating open spaces where there is little support – such as supermarket aisles.
- Feeling disorientated when using escalators, elevators or similar surfaces.
- Problems retaining balance when moving from one surface to another, for example walking from different flooring surfaces (vinyl/tile to carpet).
- Difficulty with foot placement.
- A spinning head or sense of disorientation if you move your head too quickly.
- Feeling wobbly or unsteady when walking.
- A sense of not being properly centered when walking.