One out of 3 seniors, more than 11 million, falls each year. Having good balance is essential for living a healthy, independent life and staying out of the hospital emergency room. Bay Area Medical Center (BAMC) offers a team of physical and occupational therapists specially trained to evaluate patient risk factors and create a customized program for improved safety. Assessing and eliminating the potential fall hazards in the home can be part of the process.
Common risk factors that make patients more likely to fall include:
- Balance difficulties.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Leg injury.
- Unsafe use of cane or walker.
- Vision problems.
Dizziness affects 40 percent of all adults over age 40. Most dizziness problems are due to disorders of the vestibular system, a part of the inner ear and brain that helps control balance, eye movements and overall sense of equilibrium and body position. BAMC offers a team of physical therapists who have special training to evaluate and treat vestibular disorders, or dizziness.
Therapy for dizziness may include individualized exercises consisting of head movements, head and eye coordination tasks, and balance activities. Treatment provides challenging activities to improve the brain's ability to adapt and compensate for the vestibular disorder.
Symptoms of a vestibular disorder may include:
- Momentary sensation of unsteadiness.
- Spinning or vertigo.
- Problems with vision, concentration and memory.
- Headaches, nausea, and muscle stiffness of the neck and back.