While dizziness affects people of all age groups, it is a more common complain among older individuals. Most commonly, being dizzy is associated with the use of different medications and age-related changes among elderly individuals. However, vertigo without an apparent reason is an alarming situation as it can be a symptom of different health-related conditions, including disorders of the brain and nervous system.
Even when dizziness is not due to an underlying medical condition, it can lead to dire health-related consequences resulting from injuries due to instability and falls. Therefore, for anyone who’s experiencing frequent episodes of light-headedness, particularly elderly individuals, it is important that they contact their healthcare provider or North York physiotherapist to identify the underlying issue before it becomes a major health concern.
What Causes Dizziness in Older People?
The most causes of dizziness among elderly individuals are:
- Dehydration — Low blood pressure, resulting from reduced fluid intake or excessive fluid loss may cause dizziness and weakness.
- BBPV — Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is a balance-related disorder than cause the sensation of spinning head and nausea.
- Stroke — While dizziness due to stroke is uncommon, if experienced suddenly along with other symptoms, such as headache and loss of speech, the patient should immediately call 911.
- Medications — Being off balance and dizzy is a common side effect of various medicines. Therefore, before taking any over-the-counter and prescription medicine, it is important that you read the side effects first.
While the incidence of dizziness increases with age, it is in no way a normal age-related change. Therefore, if you or a loved one is experiencing unsteadiness, you should contact a North York physiotherapist or your healthcare provider to get the underlying condition diagnosed and treated.
Can Physiotherapy Prevent Dizziness?
Vertigo caused due to inner ear-related disorders, such as BBPV, Labyrinthitis, and Meniere’s disease, can be treated effectively with a specialized type of physiotherapy called vestibular rehabilitation.
What is Vestibular Rehabilitation?
Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based technique that focuses on treating the balance-related issues caused due to problems in the inner ear. After a thorough physical examination, the physiotherapist devises a personalized treatment plan that uses one or more of the following interventions to treat the underlying vestibular problem that’s causing dizzy symptoms.
- Exercises to improve standing balance
- Eye and head exercises
- Epley Maneuver or other positioning maneuvers to re-position the fragments of debris that may cause dizziness
- Fall prevention strategies
- Lifestyle and behavioral changes to improve confidence and function
Findings from various research studies suggest that using vestibular rehabilitation can help people with chronic peripheral vestibular disorders (when the cause of being dizzy in not in the brain) get rid of or at least manage the unsteadiness associated with their condition. It’s an effective technique for reducing dizziness, as well as improving balance in older individuals.
To learn more about how physiotherapy can help reduce dizziness and your risk of sustaining fall-related injuries, please call our vestibular physiotherapist at 416-444-4800 for a free consultation or to book an appointment.