The Effects of Aging on Balance
Maintaining balance and stability is essential in everyday life. A loss of it though can affect anyone and may lead to severe conditions and stress. Balance impairment is much more common among the older population, especially above the age of sixty-five. Reports show that dizziness and vertigo only affect 1.8% of young adults but at least 30% of senior citizens. About 65% of people above the age of sixty experience a daily loss of balance. Therefore, a major health concern for the elderly is falling, which can produce even more problems such as fractures.
But why are impaired balance and dizziness so much more prevalent among the older population?
The factors that make up an individual’s physical stability are significantly affected by age. Balance consists of visual input, vestibular mechanisms within the inner ear, and proprioceptors in the legs. So vision impairments such as cataracts, degeneration of the vestibular system, and issues with positional sensation in the feet and legs may contribute to an individual’s dizziness and loss of balance. All of these are significantly increased with age. As an individual becomes older, multiple symptoms and signs associated with disorientation and imbalance develop. This can include inner ear disorders, abnormal blood pressure or blood sugar, and side effects from certain medications. For example, debris can accumulate over time within the inner ears that send signals of dizziness to the brain. So older people then have an increased risk of vertigo and balance issues.
Disequilibrium can occur in several ways and therefore may be difficult to detect. So it is important to stay physically active to maintain a healthy condition both in terms of balance and movement capability. It is also recommended to speak with a health professional to detect any issues, especially in aging. If you have any questions, contact Balance Chicago at 773-525-5200.
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