Balance Problems: Are You Headed For A Fall?

Apr 7, 2010 by

Every year, one-third to one-half the population age 65 and over experience falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults. Falls account for more than 200,000 hip fractures annually. Half of elderly people who fall do so repeatedly. As the saying goes, a stumble may prevent a fall. When it comes to balance, a stumble may indeed be a strong wake-up call that all is not well. Moreover, research shows that loss of balance and mobility is not just a fact of life as we grow older. Those individuals most at risk for falling can often be identified and helped.

HearFlorida recommends that you take the balance self test (see below). 

  1. Have you fallen more than once in the past year?
  2. Do you take medicine for two or more of the following diseases: heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, anxiety and depression?
  3. Do you need to climb a flight or more of steps each day?
  4. Do you have dizziness or balance problems frequently?
  5. Do you have blackouts or seizures?
  6. Do you sometimes take unnecessary risks?
  7. Have you experienced a stroke or other neurological problems that have affected your balance?
  8. Do you experience numbness or loss of sensation in your legs and/or feet?
  9. Do you use a walker or chair, or do you need assistance to get around?
  10. Are you inactive? (Answer yes if you do not participate in a regular form of exercise, such as walking or exercising 20-30 minutes at least three times a week).
  11. Do you feel unsteady when you are walking?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions, you could have a balance problem. Proper evaluation can detect specific balance problems and risk for falls. With this information, a training program can be customized to improve your balance and coordination.