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Self Quiz for Dizziness or Balance Problems
You are not alone. It is estimated that at least half the population of the U.S. will be affected by dizziness or balance problems during their lifetime. Balance disorders that cause dizziness may create a variety of problems including imbalance, disorientation, and blurring of vision, all of which interfere with quality of life and may lead to serious falls. Balance problems may occur suddenly or develop slowly over time. Dizziness affects all people in all age groups, but is most prevalent in the elderly. Many dizzy patients may be helped through non-medical and non-surgical techniques. There is no medication that effectively treats the complaints of disequilibrium, unsteadiness or imbalance. These problems require a thorough assessment of the balance system followed by customized therapy to treat the specific symptom.
Most episodes of dizziness are associated with disorders of the balance mechanism or, as it is known in medical terms, the vestibular system. The vestibular system includes a network of complex interconnected pathways between the inner ear, the eyes, the brain and the nerves of the spine. The vestibular system allows us to interact and maintain contact with our surroundings in a safe, efficient manner. When any part of the vestibular system malfunctions, a wide variety of potentially disabling symptoms may follow. In fact, the word dizziness describes many different systems.
Symptoms of Dizziness
Oftentimes dizziness is caused by medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or as a side effect of prescription medications. You should discuss your symptoms with your physician. If your dizziness, lightheadedness or feelings of disequilibrium persist, your physician may refer you to an audiologist for a comprehensive evaluation of your problem and, if indicated, treatment to relieve your symptoms. The audiologist is an essential member of the healthcare team helping to identify the cause of your problem.
The Role of the Audiologist
Audiologists are the professionals dedicated to helping people with hearing and balance problems. As part of their scope of practice, audiologists are trained to understand vestibular function, and may participate in the non-medical evaluation and treatment of patients who are experiencing dizziness. The audiologist’s evaluation of your dizziness and/or balance problem may use a number of highly technical tests and procedures to identify the source of the problem.
Tests and Procedures
According to research studies, 85% of all dizziness and balance problems can be accurately diagnosed and successfully treated following a thorough evaluation. You don’t have to live with dizziness, lightheadedness or feelings of being off balance. Help is available.