According to the National Institute of Health, having good balance means you are able to control and maintain your body's position, whether you are moving or still. An intact sense of balance helps you walk without staggering, get up from a chair without falling, and climb stairs without tripping. Good balance is important to help you get around, stay independent, and carry out daily activities.
As people grow older, they may have difficulty with their balance; roughly nine percent of adults who are 65 and older report having problems with balance. Balance disorders are one cause of falls and fall-related injuries, such as hip fractures. A fall or a life of limited physical activity due to balance disorders can lead to health problems, isolation, and loss of independence. Factors contributing to balance disorders include, but are not limited to, the following
Inner ear disorders can make people feel unsteady or as if they were moving, spinning, or floating.
Certain medications can cause symptoms of balance problems. For example, some medicines, such as those that help lower blood pressure, can make a person feel dizzy. Check with your doctor if you notice a problem while taking a medication.
Other causes may involve another part of the body, such as the brain or the heart.
Diseases of the circulatory system, such as stroke, also can cause dizziness and other balance problems. Smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease increase the risk of stroke.
Low blood pressure also can cause dizziness to occur.
If you think you have a balance disorder, schedule an appointment with your family doctor. Write down key information about your dizziness or balance problem before your appointment telling your doctor as much as you can.
The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620.