Dizziness, vertigo and disequilibrium are common symptoms reported by many adults during visits to their doctors. They are all symptoms that can result from a peripheral vestibular disorder or a central vestibular disorder (a dysfunction of one or more parts of the central nervous system that process balance and spatial information).
Vertigo and Cerebellum.
A healthy vestibular system supplies the most reliable information about spatial orientation. Mixed signals from vision or proprioception can usually be tolerated (such as sitting in a car). When the vestibular system malfunctions, it can no longer help resolve moments of sensory conflict, resulting in symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, and disequilibrium.
Dizziness is a sensation of lightheadedness or unsteadiness. Unlike dizziness, vertigo has a rotational, spinning component, and is the perception of movement, either of the self or surrounding objects. Disequilibrium simply means unsteadiness, imbalance, or loss of equilibrium that is often accompanied by spatial disorientation.
Balance disorders can occur at any age, but are most common as you get older. Maintaining balance and equilibrium can be very difficult when more than one health problem exists. A mild vestibular disorder can be much more exhausting when accompanied by a visual deficit. The ability to compensate for a vestibular disorder is compounded when there is also a deficit with proprioception due to an injury and severe dizziness can result. Careful evaluation, including a complete medical history noting all potential causes of dizziness, is essential to correct diagnosis and treatment.
Vestibular rehabilitation treatment utilizes exercise to address dizziness and balance impairments. Treatments may include patient and caregiver education as well as in-clinic and home exercises.
The purpose of balance training therapy is to improve stability and build confidence in the patient. Dizzy patients should be able to carry out daily activities like walking, turning, and bending without losing their balance.
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