Posts Tagged ‘infections’

Finding Your Balance

MediLodge of Rochester Hills TherapyFrom the MediLodge of Rochester Hills Therapy Department

Have you ever felt dizzy, lightheaded, or as if the room is spinning around you? These can be very troublesome sensations. If the feeling happens often, it could be a sign of a balance problem. Balance problems are among the most common reasons that older adults seek help from a doctor. Having good balance means being able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you are moving are remaining still. An intact sense of balance helps you walk without staggering, get up from a chair without falling, climb stairs without tripping, bend over without falling, to name just a few important examples. Good balance is important to help you get around, stay independent, and carry out daily activities.

People are more likely to have problems with balance as they get older. But age is not the only reason these problems occur; there are other causes, too. In some cases, you can help reduce your risk for certain balance problems.

Some balance disorders are caused by problems in the inner ear. The part of the inner ear that is responsible for balance is the labyrinth. When the labyrinth becomes infected or swollen, this condition is called labyrinthitis. It is typically accompanied by vertigo and imbalance. (Vertigo is the feeling that you or the things around you are spinning.) Upper respiratory infections and other viral infections (and less commonly, bacterial infections), can lead to labyrinthitis.

Diseases of the circulatory system, such as stroke, can cause dizziness and other balance problems. Smoking and diabetes can increase the risk of stroke. Low blood pressure can also cause dizziness.

MediLodge Physical TherapyBalance problems can also result from taking certain medications. For example, some medications, such as those that help lower blood pressure, can make a person feel dizzy. Ototoxic drugs are medicines that damage the inner ear. Sometimes the damage lasts only as long as you take the drug; other times it is permanent. Some antibiotics are ototoxic. If your medicine is ototoxic, you may feel off balance. Check with your doctor if you notice a problem while taking a medication.

Your diet and lifestyle can help you manage certain balance-related problems. For example, Meniere’s disease, which causes vertigo and other balance and hearing problems, is linked to a change in the volume of fluid in the inner ear. By eating low-sodium or salt-free foods, you can make Meniere’s disease symptoms less severe. Balance problems due to high blood pressure can be managed by eating less salt, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising.

The ear infection called otitis media is common in children, but adults can get it too. You can help prevent otitis media by washing your hands frequently. Also, talk to your doctor about getting a yearly flu shot to stave off flu-related ear infections. If you still get an ear infection, see a doctor immediately before it becomes more serious.

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MediLodge of Rochester Hills

MediLodge of Rochester Hills

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