ANCHOR LEAD: BALANCE PROBLEMS ARE MUCH MORE COMMON THAN ANYONE KNEW, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
About one-third of Americans experience balance problems that can result in falling, with all the consequences that may follow. That’s according to a Johns Hopkins analysis of national data from an ongoing study called NHANES. Lloyd Minor, chair of otolaryngology and one of the study’s authors, explains.
MINOR: Balance dysfunction is much more prevalent than had been suspected in the American population, and the balance dysfunction is very strongly correlated with the risk of falling and the associated injuries that can come with a fall. :15
Falls in older folks are often very serious.
MINOR: Falls in the elderly are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and this study has shown that vestibular dysfunction is a major contributor to falls in the elderly. :11
Minor says evaluating someone for a balance problem is straightforward and can be done in a physician’s office. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.