Why am I dizzy?

Motion blurred photograph of man or woman's feet walking through golden Fall or Autumn leavesWhat can you do if you are feeling dizzy?

You are not alone

Did you know 69 million Americans have problems with dizziness and balance?1

More than a third of adults in the U.S. 40 years and older have experienced some sort of vestibular dysfunction.2

Your balance system

Your balance is controlled by your vestibular system (located in your inner ear), your vision, and your sense of touch (proprioception).

Dizziness is a common condition that includes feeling imbalanced, lightheaded or vertigo. Vertigo is the sensation of spinning or moving, even though you are still. You may also experience nausea, vomiting, and abnormal eye movements.

Causes of dizziness

Dizziness can happen for many reasons, but often because of problems with the vestibular system.

Common causes of dizziness include:
• Inner ear infections
• Headaches, migraines
• Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) or positional vertigo
• Head injury
• Medications
• Blood circulation problems

Are You at Risk for Falls?

Falls are a serious event as they are costly to overall health. Twenty-five percent of Americans over 65 years of age fall each year.3

Falls can cause head injuries and broken bones that often lead to other health issues. While the risk of falls increases with age, falls are not a normal part of aging and are often preventable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are several risk factors for falls. Falls often occur when you have several risk factors such as:2
• Lower body weakness
• Dizziness and imbalance
• Certain medications
• Vitamin D deficiency
• Poor vision
• Decreased sensations in your feet
• Home hazards such as rugs and stairs

How to prevent falls

• Work on your balance, strength, and flexibility
• Review your medications with your doctor– some medications may increase your risk of falling
• Ask for a fall risk assessment with a balance professional
• Check your vision and hearing annually
• Home safety: improve lighting, remove tripping hazards, install hand rails

Get help today

Audiologists identify, diagnose, and provide treatment options for patients with vestibular disorders that lead to dizziness and imbalance. Some audiologists specialize in vestibular disorders and may work on fall prevention teams along with physicians and physical therapists. A team approach to fall prevention is ideal.

Do you think you or a family member may have a balance disorder? Call UofL Physicians at (502) 583-3687 to set up an appointment with an audiologist.

 

Sources:

[1] Agrawal Y, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Schubert MC, Minor LB. 2009. Disorders of balance and vestibular function in US adults: data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2004. Arch Intern Med 169(10): 938-944.

[2]Agrawal Y, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Schubert MC, Minor LB. Disorders of balance and vestibular function in US adults: data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2004. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(10):938-944.

[3] CDC Injury prevention and control. Retrieved August 29, 2017 from:  https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/

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About Brittany Brose, Au.D.

Brittany Brose, Au.D. is a clinical audiologist with UofL Physicians. She received her Bachelors in Speech and Hearing Sciences from The Ohio State University and her Doctorate of Audiology from Vanderbilt University. Her clinical interest areas include: vestibular evaluations, adult and pediatric diagnostic evaluations, as well as hearing aid services. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and has her Certificate of Clinical Competency in Audiology by the American Speech and Hearing Association. She holds licensure in audiology and hearing aid dispensing in Kentucky. Dr. Brose teaches the Assessment & Management of Vestibular Disorders graduate course at University of Louisville.

All posts by Brittany Brose, Au.D.