Aging naturally causes the onset of maladies most never expect, hearing loss being one of the most common. However, balance is another area of our health that can be taken for granted. Problems with equilibrium and sense of balance can contribute to injury related falls and can also negatively impact emotions related to independence and confidence. Chronic balance disorders affect nearly eight million people in the United States.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV is the most common condition that causes dizziness. BPPV occurs when small calcium crystals in the inner ear break loose and fall into the ear canal. The presence of these crystals causes an abnormal fluid displacement in the canal resulting in the sensation of vertigo. This occurs most often in those older than 60 when the position of the head quickly changes. This affects simple, everyday tasks such as getting out of bed, looking for something on a low shelf or reaching up in a tall cupboard.
While many people who experience the symptoms of BPPV choose to live with the condition, it is important to know there is an easy, affordable and effective solution. Canalith repositioning is a non-surgical procedure in which the physician repositions the patient’s loose calcium crystals to a part of the ear where they are either absorbed or no longer cause balance problems. Canalith repositioning is completed through several head maneuvers resulting in an 80 percent cure rate. The repositioning needs to be repeated if dizziness returns. While performing the procedure the patient may encounter nausea, dizziness and lightheadedness as minor and temporary side effects.
The benefits from a simple procedure like canalith repositioning are immeasurable. Regaining sense of balance and shedding the fears of vertigo will enable patients to live without restriction and worry less about a painful fall. Good balance is important to maintain independence and daily routines, especially with aging. Ensure you get the healthiest years you can by talking to your doctor if you experience dizziness or vertigo.