What’s so important about a vestibular disorder and, more important, what the heck is it? First of all, it’s very important and, if you are over 40 years old, you have a 1 in 3 chance of experiencing a balance problem at some point in your lifetime. A balance disorder can be a life altering condition if untreated. The Physical Therapists at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates may help determine if you have a balance disorder. This week is Balance Awareness week so it’s a perfect time to discover if you have a vestibular disorder.
Here are some facts from the Vestibular Disorder Association to give you a better understanding of how your balance system might be affected and when you should see a physician.
1.The vestibular system includes parts of the inner ear and brain that process sensory information involved with balance.
2. Over 35% of US adults aged 40 years and older (69 million Americans) have had a vestibular dysfunction at some point in their lives.
3. Vestibular disorders may be caused by disease, injury, poisoning by drugs or chemicals, autoimmune causes, traumatic brain injury, or aging. Many vestibular disorders occur from unexplained causes.
4. Symptoms of vestibular disorders include dizziness, vertigo (a spinning sensation), imbalance, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fatigue, jumping vision, nausea/vomiting, hearing loss, anxiety, and cognitive difficulties.
5. Vestibular disorders are difficult to diagnose. It is common for a patient to consult 4 or more physicians over a period of several years before receiving an accurate diagnosis.
6. There is no “cure” for most vestibular disorders. They may be treated with medication, physical therapy, lifestyle changes (e.g. diet, exercise), surgery, or positional maneuvers. In most cases, patients must adapt to a host of life-altering limitations.
7. Vestibular disorders impact patients and their families physically, mentally, and emotionally. In addition to physical symptoms such as dizziness and vertigo, vestibular patients can experience poor concentration, memory, and mental fatigue. Many vestibular patients suffer from anxiety and depression due to fear of falling and the loss of their independence.
8. Common vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière’s disease, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis, and vestibular migraine.
9. In the US, medical care for patients with chronic balance disorders exceeds $1 billion per year.
10. The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) is the largest patient organization providing information, support, and advocacy for vestibular patients worldwide.
If you have symptoms, consult your physician for a diagnosis. And remember, our Physical Therapists can help you assess your balance and get you “back on your feet”. Sarasota Orthopedic Associates offers physical therapy in all three locations convenient to Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties. For more information, visit our website at www.SOA.md or call us at 941.951.2663. We offer same and next day appointments when needed.
Top Ten list from: Vestibular Disorders Association, Portland Oregon at www.Vestibular.org