Vertigo is a feeling that you are dizzily turning around or that things are dizzily turning around you. It is a sensation of a revolving around external world.
Vertigo is a common problem with elderly balance. It must not be ignored as it creates a high risk of falling. Additionally, it may discourage physical activity due to a fear of falling.
The three common causes of elderly vertigo resulting in balance issues are:
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: This is the most common and it causes a brief, intense feeling of vertigo that occurs when you change the position of your head. You may have this same feeling when rolling over while getting out of bed, or when looking up.
What happens is small calcium stones in your inner ear become displaced, causing the feeling of dizziness. The cause is unknown, although it may result from:
A otolaryngologist can treat you by carefully moving the head and torso to dislodge these stones.
Labyrinthitis: This cause of elderly vertigo involves the labyrinth, that part of the inner ear responsible for balance. When it becomes infected or swollen, often through an ear infection, it can cause dizziness and loss of balance.
Your labyrinthitis risk can also increase with:
Symptoms usually go away with medication treating the underlining cause.
Ménière’s Disease: This is a balance disorder that causes a person to experience vertigo, hearing loss that comes and goes, tinnitus (a ringing or roaring in the ears) and a feeling of fullness in the ear.
Ménière’s disease is caused by changes in fluid volumes in the inner ear. Dizzying effects may be helped by lowering the amount of sodium, alcohol or caffeine in your diet. The cause is unknown and it can affect adults of any age.
Balance problems may also result from taking certain medications. For example, those that help lower blood pressure, can make a person feel dizzy.
Also, some antibiotics are ototoxic drugs, which may damage the inner ear permanently or while using them. If your medicine is ototoxic, you may feel off balance. And, as with any medications, consult with your doctor if you notice any effects.
Some other causes for dizziness and balance problems include:
Some balance disorders are caused by problems in the inner ear, while others may involve another part of the body, aging, infections, head injury, certain medicines, or problems with blood circulation resulting in a balance issue.
If you are experiencing episodes of vertigo, visit your health care provider immediately. If for no other reason then taking a fall prevention step.
Your diet and lifestyle can help you manage certain balance-related problems by:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- eating low-salt or salt-free foods
- steering clear of caffeine & alcohol
Preventing the preventable through healthy lifestyle changes is your one way ticket to health.