Each year, more than 10 million patients seek medical treatment for dizziness or vertigo.
In most cases, vertigo is caused by an imbalance in the inner ear and nervous system, called vestibular disorders. This can occur at any age and lead to accidents and dangerous falls.
“Many falls are due to vertigo which is a common medical problem,” says Judith White, MD, PhD, medical director of the new Balance, Dizziness and Fall Prevention Center at the Cleveland Clinic Beachwood Family Health and Surgery Center. “Dizziness is a serious condition because it increases a person’s risk of falling by 13 times.”
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits and the main cause of accidental deaths among Americans 65 and older.
“If anyone experiences dizziness or balance difficulties, they should ask their physician to refer them to a vestibular specialist. There are several things that can be done to resolve or help the problem,” says Dr. White.
Physicians and certified vestibular physical therapists at Cleveland Clinic’s Vestibular Rehabilitation Program individualize treatment plans for patients who report symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, wooziness, spinning, vertigo, disorientation, imbalance and falls.
In addition to meeting with a vestibular specialist, Dr. White recommends the following tips to prevent falls:
- Learn and practice various exercises that can significantly improve balance such as Tai Chi.
- Remove hazardous items around the house like loose floor rugs and stools that can trip people.
- Avoid high heels and wear flatter, flexible shoes or shoes with good traction.
- Place hand grips in the bath and shower.
- Always use handrails when walking up and down stairs.
To make an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Beachwood’s Balance, Dizziness and Fall Prevention Center, please call 216.839.3000.