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About Balance and Safety
Having good balance means you’re able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you’re in motion or remaining still. Learning about the causes of balance problems can help you prevent falls and a loss of independence.
Balance problems can result from taking certain medications. For example, some medicines that lower blood pressure can make you feel dizzy.
Check with your health care provider if you notice a balance problem while taking a medication to see if you could take a smaller dose or change medications.
A balance disorder is a disturbance of the inner ear that can make you feel unsteady or like you’re moving or spinning.
These are common balance disorders:
Vertigo, which creates the feeling that you or the things around you are spinning.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a condition that makes you experience a brief, intense feeling of vertigo that occurs when you change your head’s position when rolling over in bed or looking up.
Labyrinthitis, an infection or inflammation of the inner ear that causes dizziness.
Ménière’s disease, a disorder that causes a person to experience vertigo; hearing loss that comes and goes; a ringing or roaring in the ears; and a feeling of fullness in the ear.
See your doctor
To determine if you have a balance problem, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I feel unsteady?
Do I feel as if the room is spinning around me?
Do I feel as if I’m moving when I’m standing still?
Do I lose my balance and fall?
See your health care provider if you answer “yes” to any of these questions. Treatments will vary depending on the cause, but they are well worth sticking with to keep you safe and independent.
Online ResourcesBalance Problems, National Institutes of Health Senior Health http://nihseniorhealth.gov/balanceproblems/aboutbalanceproblems/01.html
Falls and Balance Problems, American Geriatric Society Foundation http://www.healthinaging.org/public_education/pef/falls_and_balance_problems.php