Dizziness and Balance

It has been estimated that there are between 5 and 8 million physician visits for dizziness in the United States each year, and dizziness is the leading reason for a physician visit for patients over age 75 years.

Dizziness is a term that is used to describe two different conditions – light headedness and vertigo. Lightheadedness, or “feeling faint” can happen for a number of reasons including low blood pressure (often in response to rising from a seated position), medication side effects, generalized ill health and psychological responses. Vertigo is a sensation of motion where there is in fact none. This can be a sense that your environment is spinning or moving, or that your head and/or body is spinning or falling while the world is still.

In addition, falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults and are the leading cause of death in those over age 85. Five percent of falls lead to bone fracture, resulting in approximately 300,000 hip fractures annually. Every year, one-third to one-half of the population age 65 and over experience falls; and half of the seniors who fall do so more than once. Of all falls suffered by seniors, 50 percent are the result of vestibular problems.

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