Dizziness/Disequilibrium

  • Dizziness is prevalent, with estimates ranging from 1.8% in young adults to more than 30% in the elderly, and causing considerable morbidity and utilization of health services.1
  • It has been estimated that 65% of individuals older than 60 years of age experience dizziness or loss of balance, often on a daily basis.2
  • Dizziness is a common symptom affecting about 30% of people over the age of 65.10
  • It has been reported that, in the primary care setting, 70% of elderly patients present with dizziness;1 and that 3,200 per 100,000 new cases per year visit a primary care physician.3
  • 23-30% of adults have experienced at least one episode of dizziness and 3.5% of adults experience a chronic recurrent episode greater than a one-year duration by age 65.4
  • Approximately 12.5 million Americans over the age of 65 have a dizziness or balance problem that significantly interferes with their lives.5, 6
  • There are an estimated 5 to 8 million physician visits for dizziness in the United States each year; dizziness is a primary reason for an office visit in the over 75 age group.7
  • One in three people will experience dizziness or imbalance during their lifetime.8
  • In the US, the estimated cost of medical care for patients with balance disorders exceeds $1 billion annually.8
  • Nonspecific disequilibrium affects about 1/3 of people over the age of 75.9
  • Dizziness can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in elderly persons, in whom it often represents dysfunction in more than one body system.1
  • Many cases of dizziness are actually neurological.7
  • In a study involving 96 asymptomatic controls and 149 dizzy subjects, ENG failed to discriminate dizzy subjects from controls and failed to differentiate various dizziness syndromes.11

References:

    1. Sloan PD, et al. Dizziness: State of the science. Ann Intern Med. May 1, 2001; 134(9 pt 2):823-32.
    2. Hobeika CP. Equilibrium and balance in the elderly. Ear Nose Throat J. August 1999; 78(8):558-62, 565-6.
    3. Sloan, PD (1989). Dizziness in primary care. Results from the national ambulatory medical care survey. J Family Practice 29:33-38.
    4. Ojala, M (1989). Etiology of dizziness: a neurological and neuro-otological study. Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Academic Dissertation.
    5. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, March 1997.
    6. Ator GA. University of Kansas Department of Otolaryngology Division of Otology Talk: Vertigo – Evaluation and Treatment in the Elderly.http://www2.kumc.edu/otolaryngology/otology/VertEldTalk.htm. Accessed Mar 2003.
    7. Desmond, Advance for Audiologists July/August 2000.
    8. University of Virginia Health System, Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Vestibular & Balance Center.http://www.healthsystem.Virginia.edu/internet/otolaryngology/patient_vbc.cfm. Accessed June 2003.
    9. University of Iowa Health Care. Comprehensive management of vestibular disorders. Currents: Spring 2002, Vol 3, No 2. http://www.uihealthcare.com/news/currents/vol3issue2/03vertigo.html. Accessed Mar 2003.
    10. Colledge N, Lewis S, et al. Magnetic resonance brain imaging in people with dizziness: a comparison with non-dizzy people. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. May 2002; 72(5):587-9.
    11. Hajioff D, et al. Is Electronystagmography of diagnostic value in the elderly? Clin Otolaryngol. Feb 2002; 27(1):27-31.