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Causes of Dizziness in the Elderly

Causes of Dizziness in the Elderly

There could be several causes of dizziness in the elderly. These causes are diagnosed with the help of symptoms which accompany dizziness. This article lists down all such possible causes of this condition.
Rajib Singha
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
If you are feeling as if you are about to faint or if you are having the sense of light-headedness, then you are probably feeling dizzy. This condition may also be used to describe the feeling of weakness or unsteadiness. According to reports, the older population is known to be affected by dizziness more than the younger group. Also, the condition seems to be more persistent in the elderly. Although, in most cases, dizziness does not turn out to be any kind of manifestation of severe disorders in the body, its frequent occurrence can sure affect the affected person's daily activities.
Symptoms that Accompany Dizziness
Dizziness, technically, may not be regarded as a medical condition in itself. Rather, it is a symptom, which may indicate to something amiss in the body. As mentioned earlier, it may be used to describe what we known as light-headedness or the feeling of near fainting. The sensation of a loss in balance may also be said to be one symptom, which may accompany dizziness. Some people may have sensations which may cause them to assume that they are floating or swimming. Not to forget about vertigo. This is a symptom which occurs as a sense of spinning for the affected person. All such symptoms, however, not only occur in the elderly, but also in young people. But then, they may be more severe with the aged. Now, there are some cases, wherein, these symptoms may be accompanied by some other which may raise high concerns with respect to the health of the individual. These may include severe headache, blurry vision, stiff neck, problems in speech, difficulty in walking and sudden hearing loss. Also, symptoms such as chest pain, high fever, head injury and weakness in the limbs, when occur along with dizziness, call for immediate medical help.
Causes
If we consider fainting as an accompanying symptom, the possible causes may include a condition which causes a sudden drop in the systolic blood pressure. Also, there are certain heart diseases such as cardiomyopathy (a disorder of the heart muscles) and cardiac arrhythmia (an abnormal rate of muscle contractions in the heart), which may also have dizziness as one of their symptoms.
The symptom of vertigo may have factors such as inflammation in the inner ear, Meniere's disease, and other neurological conditions like stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc., as some of the causal factors behind dizziness. There is a nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. This nerve might be affected with a benign growth over it, and this may cause the condition, as well. Some people develop vertigo when they change the position of their head. This is caused by what is known as the BPPV; short for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. The cause of BPPV remains unknown for most of the time, but in some cases, head trauma is found to be associated with it.
Then comes the symptom of loss of balance and taking this for reference, inner ear problems, disorders with the sensory system of the body, and problems with joint and muscles may be suspected as the offenders. Parkinson's disease, disorders of the spinal cord, and other neurological condition may manifest themselves through dizziness too. Also, certain medications may also a person to feel dizzy.
The type of treatment to deal with this condition depends upon what has caused it. For instance, if the underlying cause has been found to be Meniere's disease, then doctors would treat it by reducing the body's ability to retain fluids. Likewise, other conditions like BPPV, Parkinson's disease, etc., are treated for correcting the problem of dizziness.
To conclude, it is a must that affected people must also follow certain self-care measures at home to prevent severe complications which may arise when they experience dizziness. These may include making their home fall-proof, avoiding driving in cases of frequent spells of dizziness, making use of a cane while walking, and avoiding drinking and smoking. Also, it is essential to be conscious when the symptoms start setting in so as to get to a safe spot. And not to mention, patients must make use of good light if they have to get out of bed at night.