Understanding The Balance Problems: Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment
Balance is one of the functions of our body that is maintained by various parts, which include the brain, heart, blood vessels, a part of the ear, and also our musculoskeletal system. Usually, the balance problems we come across are related to very minimal pathologies which can be treated in the outpatient department only and do not require any serious intervention. Some common causes of balance disorders could be, moving to a high altitude leading to the feeling of dizziness, usually, the reason behind such symptoms is your inner ear apparatus which has a vestibular component in it that maintains the linear and rotational acceleration of our body. Other causes could be secretions in the ear or cerebellar disorders. Temporary balance issues could be due to something as simple as postural hypotension, which means the feeling of dizziness when suddenly changing postures. You might have experienced it when you suddenly stood up from a lying down position.
The major symptoms that you will experience after any such episode are the feeling of vertigo, that is you might feel like your surroundings are spinning, it could happen when you are standing or even in a lying position. You might lose your balance and your gait may become unsteady. You can experience lightheadedness, which may be followed by actually falling, it may also be associated with blurred vision and a feeling of confusion. Any such problem usually subsides as soon as the pathology behind it is treated. As explained before there could be various reasons involving various systems of your body which led to such medical issues.
To diagnose there are a few tests you may have to undergo:
- To check your vestibular apparatus of the ear or any other ear-related pathology, a few hearing tests may be performed. These may be simple tuning fork tests or other procedures like pure tone audiometry and tympanometry. The results of these tests are usually in concurrence with any ear-related pathology you might have which makes it easier to make the diagnosis. Other tests can involve, calorie tests, and Dix- the Hallpike maneuver. These tests provoke posturally and pressure changes to check if the functioning is normal. Any deviation from normal suggests a pathology.
- There are various tests to check the functioning of the cerebellum. These tests include the shin-heel test, gait test, and finger nose test. The patient is also examined for any tremor, ataxia, or other incoordination suggesting cerebellar dysfunctioning.
- Other tests include heart rate and blood pressure testing, posturography test, and finally imaging.
Once the diagnosis has been made, for example after balance and tinnitus assessment in Dublin, to remove the pathology of the ear you might have to undergo micro-suction ear wax removal. There are also hearing aid clinics in Dublin providing premium quality care. Treatment of dizziness is usually symptomatic until the underlying pathology is not identified. The mainstay treatment for balance disorders is:
- Rehabilitation of vestibular functions and exercises to retain balance again.
- Medications are usually given to treat symptoms for immediate relief in case of exaggerated and debilitating problems.
- Surgery may also be needed in case of tumors or nerve decompression.