BALANCE PROBLEMS MISSED
ANCHOR LEAD: HOW CAN SO MANY PEOPLE WITH BALANCE PROBLEMS HAVE GONE UNNOTICED? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Fully one-third of people over the age of 40 may have a significant balance problem, a Johns Hopkins study estimates. Lloyd Minor, chair of otolaryngology and one the study’s authors in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, says it’s easy to understand why.
MINOR: It’s been hard to get demographic data concerning balance dysfunction. People who have a problem hearing readily seek attention from their doctor and complain I can’t hear from my right ear. People who have problems with their vision they know what to say to their doctor, but balance dysfunction is much harder for people to express, to understand, to communicate. And so this is one of the first comprehensive studies defining the demographics of balance dysfunction in Americans. :29
Minor says balance problems are also insidious much of the time, coming on slowly. So compromise isn’t noticed until someone falls. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.