Loss of Balance: Causes and Treatments

As a result of balance problems, you may experience dizziness and feel like your world is spinning. Problems with balance can also cause falls, which may result in injuries including bruising and broken bones. Chances are that you may experience loss of balance more often if you are taking some medications, have inner ear conditions or head injuries. People over the age of 65, especially with conditions like arthritis and low blood pressure, are at a higher risk of falling.

What Are Possible Causes of Loss of Balance?

1. Common Disorders

  • Menieres disease: This condition affects the inner ear, which has a substantial effect on your balance.Vertigo is a common symptom and may even interfere with daily activities.
  • Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis: Both conditions cause vertigo that can trigger sudden disorientation and loss of balance.
  • Superior semicircular canal dehiscence: The semicircular canal is located in the ear, and contains fluid that regulates balance. Disruption to the fluid can cause bad balance.
  • Benign paraxysmal positional vertigo: This could be related to a bump to the head or may not seem to have a cause at all. The dizziness that occurs with this condition can trigger a loss of balance.

2. Blood Issues

  • Lightheadedness and faintness that are caused by a substantial drop in your systolic blood pressure can cause a loss of balance.
  • Sometimes, the output of blood from the heart can be decreased due to various types of heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms or a decrease to the amount of blood.
  • Low iron levels may cause dizziness and a loss of balance.Low blood sugar is a complication of diabetes and can lead to impaired balance.

3. Nerve Conditions

Disease of the nerve system can wreak havoc on your balance. One of the problems occurs when the nerves stop communicating with the brain. When this happens, the brain no longer knows what the legs are doing and your balance can be affected. When this condition is present, dark rooms make balance difficult as the eyes help the legs function and maintain balance in the absence of the brain. When the eyes can’t see, the legs often fail.

Other problems with that neuropathy also causes weakness in the limbs and patients may not be able to lift their feet high enough off of the ground to avoid tripping over them.

4. Neurological Causes

  • Conditions such as stroke, brain hemorrhage and multiple sclerosis can cause serious balance problems.
  • Acoustic neuroma: This growth is located on your vestibular nerve, which is the nerve that connects the brain and the inner ear. Symptoms include hearing loss that progressively gets worse and tinnitus, along with dizziness and poor balance.

5. Common Ailments

  • Migraines: Migraines are not your average headache. Episodes of vertigo can occur even when sufferers of migraines are not actively experiencing pain. These episodes might last for a few hours or a few days.
  • Overheating/Dehydration: Activity in hot conditions with a lack drinking enough fluids can cause dehydration, which can affect your balance.
  • Joint/Muscle conditions: Muscle weakness or arthritis in weight bearing joints can cause poor balance. Impaired vision or nerve damage to your legs can cause difficulties in maintaining balance.

6. Other Causes

  • Inner ear inflammation: Conditions that affect the inner ear can cause a sudden and intense onset of vertigo. The vertigo can last for several days, and cause vomiting, nausea and bad balance.
  • Medications: Medications that lower your blood pressure can lead to bad balance.
  • Anxiety disorders: Sometimes a panic attack can cause dizziness that will interfere with your balance.
  • Chronic subjective dizziness: The persistent dizziness with this condition can be difficult to treat, as the cause of the dizziness is unknown. As with all forms of dizziness, this can lead to a loss of balance.

How Is Loss of Balance Treated?

Finding and treating the underlying condition that is causing the loss of balance is the best treatment. Mediation, surgery, change in diet and physical therapy have all been known to assist in correcting poor balance.

  • Exercises: Some exercises try to correct the balance by focusing on how the head and body move. A physical therapist will develop an exercise regime that is specific to each patient’s needs.Simple exercises like the Epley maneuver where you sit up and then using your back as a rest turn your head to one side. After a couple of minutes, you return to a sitting position.
  • Treating Meniere’s disease: Corticosteroids and antibiotic gentamicin are medications that are often used to treat this condition. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct problems with balance.
  • Medications: Your doctor will review what medications you are taking and could adjust the dosage or recommend a different medication based on various conditions, such as antibiotic for bacterial infection,anti-nausea for nausea symptoms and corticosteroids injection to the eardrum to relieve dizziness.
  • Home care: If the cause of the poor balance is not known, your doctor might give you instructions to avoid injury. You may need help in climbing stairs, showering or using the bathroom. Lifestyle changes may also be recommended. These changes may include giving up smoking, consuming caffeine and alcohol in moderation, reducing your intake of salt and eating healthy food.
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