Jul 07, 2014
By Valerie Massie
12:15 PM ET | Dr. Zach
GUEST – Dr. Zach, GFB House Doctor, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine at McGill University
TOPIC – Dizziness and falls
INFO – Falls are very common among Zoomers. Each year one third of seniors experience at least one fall. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions in seniors. These falls lead to significant morbidity and even mortality. Forty percent of seniors who fall will break their hips and half of these people will not recover full function. Falls cost more than $2 billion in healthcare costs per year, and 40% of nursing home admissions are atrributable to falls.
There are many reasons for falls, including mobility problems, visual disturbances, medication side-effects, and dizziness. We will discuss all of these with a focus on dizziness. People use dizziness to describe two primary entities: Lightheadedness, or the feeling one is about to faint, is usually related to a drop in blood pressure. Vertigo is the feeling that one is moving (usually spinning) when one actually is not. This is commonly caused by a problem in the area of the inner ear involved in controlling balance. In other cases it can be caused by a problem in the brain, such as a stroke. We will discuss how doctors determine the cause of dizziness, and what can be done about them, as well as what has been shown to reduce fall risk.