>Vertigo: Are you dizzy? It may be part of the aging process

>Aging gracefully is my goal!
 I would like to share some different problems that we may encounter as we age.

 Yesterday, I talked about memory, and I will be gathering information on some memory problems that people have as they age.
For today, I will focus on Vertigo. The definition of vertigo is a false sensation that the self, the surroundings or both are moving or spinning. It is usually accompanied by nausea and loss of balance.

As people age, some of our body parts involved in balance function less efficiently.
Seeing in dim light becomes more difficult, therefore, as we age, we should get rid of throw rugs in our bedrooms, and have a night light on at night.
The mechanism that controls blood pressure is also a concern because blood pressure may fall when a person stands up from a lying position (this can happen at any age). This is called orthostatic hypotension. Feeling of faintness upon rising.
Disorders that can contribute to dizziness such as heart disease and stroke are more common among older people. So is the pain of arthritis that affects the lower back, hips and knees which can limit walking.
Older people are also more likely to take medications that can cause dizziness including blood pressure medicine and others used to treat seizures, heart disease as well as antibiotics.
Some antihistamines such as meclizine are used to treat vertigo, but  may also cause side effects in older people.
See your doctor if you have chronic dizziness:
In the older adult chronic dizziness can increase the risk of falling and fractures. There are so many causes of chronic vertigo, and if you have it, it needs to be explored with your doctor to find out what the underlying cause may be.
Strategies to help Vertigo:
If dizziness persists despite treatment, people can learn strategies to help them:
1. Avoid movements that trigger dizziness such as looking up or bending down
2. Store items at levels easy to reach
3. Get up slowly from a sitting or lying position
4. Clench your hands and flex your feet before standing
5. Learn exercises that combine eye, hand, and body movements that prevent dizziness
6. Do physical therapy and exercises to strenghten muscles and maintain independent walking as long as possible.

Classifications of dizziness:
Faintness: The person feels about to black out when upright
Loss of balance: the person feels unsteady and about to fall
Vertigo: The person or his surroundings seem to be moving or spinning
When you talk to your doctor about dizziness, the above definitions may help you to describe your difficulties with dizziness.

Taken in part from: The Merck Manual: Home Health Handbook (2009). Whitehouse Station, NJ. Merck Research Laboratories

                                                                       Aging well