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Vestibular Dysfunction Common Cause of Falls in Aging Adults

 

One of the causes of dizziness that can sometimes lead to a fall is vestibular disorder. A series of fluid-filled canals in the inner ear, the vestibular system, when healthy, maintains balance, posture, and the body's orientation in space.

However, when our vestibular system malfunctions, our sense of balance can be compromised. A recent John Hopkins University study shows that 69 million Americans over age 40 are up to 12 times more likely to have a dizziness-induced serious fall caused by an inner-ear dysfunction. That is an immense problem because accidental falls are among the leading causes of death in the elderly, killing an estimated 13,000 people each year in the United States and resulting in a high number of injuries that require emergency room treatment.

The study also shows that the risk of having a balance problem rises with age and diabetes; the John Hopkins research demonstrated that people with diabetes were 70 percent more likely to suffer from vestibular dysfunction.

Experts point out, however, that proper treatment of diabetes, as well as physical rehabilitation exercises will re-establish a sense of balance and prevent falls from occurring.

To learn more about the study and vestibular disorders, visit: Vestibular Disorder: A Head Turning Experience.

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