Feeling Dizzy? It Could be a Balance Disorder

Dr. ZapantaDizziness, vertigo, and disequilibrium (unsteadiness) are all common symptoms that can result from a vestibular disorder. The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. If disease or injury damages these processing areas, vestibular disorders can result. Vestibular disorders occur frequently and can affect people of any age.

Dizziness is a term used to describe a range of sensations such as feeling faint, woozy, weak or unsteady. Dizziness that creates the false sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving is called vertigo.  Symptoms of chronic dizziness or imbalance can have a significant impact on the ability of an older person to perform normal daily activities such as bathing, dressing or simply getting around.  They may also experience long-term consequences if an existing health condition causing dizziness goes untreated.

Dizziness can increase your risk of falling and injuring yourself. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling — and fall-related problems — rises with age.  Each year, more than 1.6 million older U.S. adults go to emergency departments for fall-related injuries. Among older adults, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and injury deaths.  Most often, fall-related fractures are in the person’s hip, pelvis, spine, arm, hand, or ankle. Hip fractures are one of the most serious types of fall injury. They are a leading cause of injury and loss of independence among older adults

Luckily, a non-invasive and exercise-based program, vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT), can help resolve a variety of vestibular problems by promoting central nervous system compensation for inner ear deficits. Stop by Raritan Bay Old Bridge on Thursday, October 12, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., for free balance screenings, tips on fall prevention and more information.

Vicente Zapanta, M.D., is an otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose & Throat specialist) and director of the Center for Balance at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center. The Center’s services are designed specifically for anyone with dizziness, vertigo, difficulty judging distance, people with an increased risk of falling or anyone who has fallen in the past year. The most advanced tests to diagnose balance or dizziness disorders are used. Dr. Zapanta interprets all diagnostic test results and determines customized treatment recommendations for each patient. To register for the event or make an appointment, call 732-324-5030.

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