Getting into the spring – summer cleaning, planting, window washing, fertilizing, and mulching amid the ever changing weather is a challenge for anyone. As the activity levels keep us going more and more… burning off those winter calories … bumps and bruises are bound to happen to many of us.
At this time of year, our M.D.s see plenty of older adults who come in to tell us that they are tipping, swaying and catching themselves one or more times a day as they work on the chores list. They quickly add that they have not fallen to the ground… but more like falling sideways… getting a bruise and a bump in the process.
The Bad News: These people are at the beginning stages of balance loss that will only get worse, and will likely create a serious fall injury if ignored.
The Good News: Over the past dozen years or so, modern geriatric medicine has become good at diagnosing balance issues and keeping people from more serious falls injury. Even Medicare has jumped on the bandwagon of promoting balance and falls prevention. In recent years, Medicare has begun paying for Annual Wellness Visits which can help to determine if a patient is having balance problems… then the physician can refer to a balance specialty practice for more comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services.
Remember… dizziness and balance problems are a symptom, like a fever… telling us that there are health issues that need attention. Like any other health issue, the real trick to prevention is simply recognizing that something is different… and then acting on it.