About 69 million American adults have suffered or will suffer from a vestibular or balance disorder in their lifetime. To help promote awareness, education and resources for people with vestibular and balance disorders, we at AZ Balance and Hearing Aids (ABHA) have partnered with the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) in celebrating Balance Awareness Week. The goal of this year’s Balance Awareness Week is to “Defeat Dizziness TM”, and encourage patients to educate themselves and seek help from a vestibular professional with their balance issues.
Although Balance Awareness Week is scheduled for September 12th-18th this year, ABHA will be delving deeper into vestibular and balance issues for the entirety of September.
The human body’s process of balancing is also known as the vestibular system. This system allows us to walk, run, swim, and swing without becoming confused – by collecting information that helps our brains to understand our body’s relationship to the environment and gravity.
The primary processes of the vestibular system occur within our inner ear. Inside our inner ear lies a “labyrinth” within which the vestibular system operates. Within each labyrinth are three semi-circle canals that lie at different angles and represent our three-dimensional world. Inside each of these canals is a fluid called endolymph. Movement in our bodies causes these fluids to move and “swish around”. The movement of this fluid is the crux of our vestibular system, as it sends signals to our brain that helps us process and understand our body’s location in space.
When disease, injury or unknown factors interfere with the vestibular system’s delicate processes, vestibular disorders can occur. Vestibular disorders can cause vertigo (dizziness or a false sense of spinning) and problems with keeping your balance.
The symptoms of chronic dizziness or imbalance can have a significant and disabling effect on a person’s quality of life. Including limited ability to groom, or simply move about the house. It is reported that about 11.3% of people with chronic dizziness report symptoms that are severe enough to be considered disabling, and the condition is disabling for 33.4% of adults with chronic imbalance. VEDA reports that, “the painful economic and social impacts of dizziness are significantly underestimated”.
The most common vestibular disorder is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). However, labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis, Ménière’s disease, secondary endolymphatic hydrops and perilymph fistula are also quite commonly diagnosed.
While most common in older adults, vestibular disorders can affect individuals at any age, including babies and children. Approximately 35% of adults in the United States who are 40 years of age or older have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 80% of people over 65 experience dizziness, and BPPV (the most common vestibular disorder) is responsible for 50% of these cases of dizziness.[/cs_text][/cs_column]
If you want to help ABHA and the Vestibular Disorders Association spread awareness and increase revenue for resources and research on vestibular disorders, there are many ways you can help by celebrating Balance Awareness Week.
1. Sign Up for the Dizzy Dash – The Dizzy Dash is a virtual 5K run, which gives you and your team flexibility on when and where you make the dash. Register your team to begin fundraising and for your Dizzy Dash t-shirt! Click here for more information.
2. Participate in “Flat Flamingo” photo contest – Take this photo of “Flat Flamingo” with you wherever you go. Take photos of you and your flamingo and use the hashtag #defeatdizziness. 10 lucky winners will receive a gift card and a pair of KEEN shoes.
3. Help spread awareness – Download a free Balance Awareness Week poster, and “Top Ten Vestibular Facts” sheet to hang up at your work place or other boards throughout your community.
4. Make Balance Awareness Week go viral – “Like” VEDA’s and ABHA’s Facebook pages and share the inspiring stories, posts and videos with your friends and family!
Are you struggling with dizziness or balance issues? Don’t wait for Balance Awareness Week. Contact AZ Balance and Hearing Aids and schedule your consultation today.