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Surgeon Discusses Dizziness and Falls with Seniors

Maintaining balance, clear home layout both important

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Norwalk, CT | Added on January 23, 2014 At 11:16 AM

Head and Neck Surgeon Dr. Robert Weiss of the Connecticut Center for Advanced ENT Care joined seniors at Maplewood at Strawberry Hill senior center in Norwalk Wednesday night to talk dizziness and maintaining balance. Weiss says the root of dizziness can stem from inner ear problems to a variety of other conditions like arthritis. 

"Its definitely two categories," said Weiss. "One category is where they definitely have an inner ear problem, and that's the best patient for us because we can hone in what's wrong with this patient in particular, and then maybe there is something very specific to help that. The other category is the patient has a little bit of everything, a little bit of arthritis, a little vision problem, a little ear disturbance, and I think that's a big category especially in the senior population."    

The World Health Organization reports the world is aging more rapidly than ever before. In the U.S. alone nearly 10,000 seniors turn 65 every day, and by 2030 there will be 80 million medicare participants.  

Weiss also says anything from viruses, drugs, and trauma can affect the inner ear and balance.   

"If you think of it like a gyroscope, you've got two, one on each side of your head, and they're kind of embedded in the skull bones and there's fluid inside and when you move your head, that fluid moves and there's little sensors in the inner ear that detect fluid motion and those send signals to your brain, and those send signals to your brian and that's how your brain kind of figures out if you're upright, if you're moving, which angle your head is tilted at." 

He also says there isn't an exact way to prevent dizziness, aside from maintaining a more active lifestyle, identifying the patient's risk factors and removing obstacles that can cause a fall. 

"Don't use throw rugs in your house, make sure everything is well lit," said Weiss. "Never wear flip flops, long robes can get caught on things. Just simple things can go a long way to prevent you from having a fall." 

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