Dizziness & Balance Disorders Arise from Conditions Common with Aging, Experts Report

Dizziness and Balance Problems Arise from Conditions Common with Aging, Experts Report“More than 4 in 10 Americans will experience an episode of dizziness sometime during their lives that’s significant enough to send them to a doctor,” according to the August, 2012 issue of NIH News in Health, a monthly newsletter published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“Most people feel dizzy now and then. But if that feeling persists or interferes with your daily life, it could be a sign of a balance disorder,” the NIH newsletter states.

As people age they tend to experience more of the several underlying conditions that can lead to dizziness and balance disorders, the NIH notes.

Understanding Balance Disorders

“Balance is a multisystem function,” NIH hearing and balance expert Dr. Daniel Sklare explains in the August NIH newsletter. “It begins with a series of signals within the tiny balance organs of the inner ear. These organs work with your brain’s visual system to give you a sense of your body’s position. They also keep objects from blurring when your head moves. Sense receptors in skin, joints and muscles also send balance-related signals to the brain. The brain receives and coordinates information from all these different body systems. Balance disorders can arise when any of these signals malfunction.”

“Because balance is so complex, it can be hard to figure out the underlying cause of certain problems,” the NIH newsletter states. “Some balance disorders can begin suddenly. They might arise from an ear infection, a head injury or certain medications. Low blood pressure can lead to dizziness when you stand up quickly. Disorders related to vision, muscles, bones or joints can also contribute to balance problems.”

“As America gets older, many people with imbalance have a collection of these problems,” says Dr. Gordon Hughes, NIH clinical trials director for hearing and balance. “They might have aging of the ear, aging of vision, cataracts, muscle weakness from losing some muscle mass or arthritis in the hips, plus other problems like diabetes.”

Researchers have identified more than a dozen different balance disorders, according to the new NIH newsletter. Among those mentioned are:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) — The most common balance disorder, BPPV is experienced as a sudden burst of vertigo that can arise with an abrupt change in head position, such as when you bend over to tie your shoes. According to NIH, this condition is often harmless and may result from a head injury or simply from getting older.
  • Ménière’s disease — This condition is experienced as attacks of “intense vertigo, hearing loss, nausea, tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing in the ear) and a feeling of fullness in the ear,” according to the NIH. “Some affected people have vertigo so extreme that they lose their balance and fall. These episodes are called ‘drop attacks’,” the NIH explains. “An attack of Ménière’s symptoms, while not life-threatening, can feel completely overwhelming,” the NIH newsletter reports.

    Ménière’s disease is thought to arise because of a change in fluid volume within the inner ear, but its underlying cause remains unknown, according to the NIH.

    “Scientists estimate that 6 in 10 people [with Ménière’s disease] either get better on their own or can control their vertigo with diet, drugs or devices. In severe cases, surgical therapies can end the dizziness but might affect hearing,” the NIH states.

More information about both of these conditions is contained in the August, 2012 issue of NIH News in Health, a monthly newsletter published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

More Resources on Dizziness and Balance Disorders

For more information on dizziness and balance disorders, see:

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — resource page on Balance Disorders.

NIH SeniorHealth – About Balance Problems.

MedlinePlus resource page on Dizziness and Vertigo – a consumer health information service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

Mayo Clinic – resource page on Balance Problems and Dizziness.

Cleveland Clinic – resource pages on Vestibular & Balance Disorders.

Cleveland Clinic – resource page on Dizziness.

Medicinenet.com – Vertigo.

WebMD – Video on Balance Basics.

WebMD – Dizziness Directory.

Related Information

See the HelpingYouCare® resource pages on Hearing Loss, including:

See also the HelpingYouCare® resource pages on Falls/ Fractures/ Mobility Loss, including:


Copyright © 2012 Care-Help LLC, publisher of HelpingYouCare®. All rights reserved.


Comments are closed.

.............................................................................Back to Top...

Login to Post Comments

Register & Login above to post comments. Click here for Help. To join a Support Group, Register/ Login at CaregiversLikeUs.

The Fifteen Newest Updates on HelpingYouCare® As Of Today

New Posts on HelpingYouCare® by Day or Month

July 2024
« Feb    

Survey/ Opinion Poll

Participate in a brief
Survey/ Opinion Poll »

We publish the results of our periodic Surveys & Opinion Polls, anonymously. See Survey/ Opinion Poll Results ».

Contribute Content

Write and contribute articles, posts, or other content to this Site, or share links to useful information & resources you have found with the HelpingYouCare® Community.
Read How…

If you find any broken links on this Site, we will appreciate your reporting them to us:

Report Broken Links