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What causes dizziness in the elderly?

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Posted on Sat, 26 Jul 2014
Question: I feel dizzy, light headed, and walk unsteady for the past 2 plus years. I'm 91 and other wise I feel fine, and continue daily activities. My General Practitioner has tried every treatment, as well as tests, all with negative results. I've had 2 heart attacks, (Fibrillation) and now have an inserted Pacemaker/Defribillator.
My condition seems related to maybe an ear infection, or sinus allergies. Occasionally things improve, but always revert back to my dizziness and poor balance.
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Answered by Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda (10 hours later)
Brief Answer:
It is not related to ear infectio or sinus problem

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
I am Dr. Prakash HM and I would like to answer your query.

Dizziness in the elderly is common and is due to multiple causes.

Possible causes include:
1. Delayed response to balance change is common in healthy older adults
2. Neurological conditions - should be negative as you have been tested
3. Vestibular dysfunction - due to age related changes in vestibular portion.
--Ear infection or sinus allergies are not deep enough to affect the vestibular portion and cause imbalance--
4. Drug side effects: Amiodarone is known to cause dizziness (When were you started on amiodarone? does it correlate with start of your symptoms?)

Does postural variation from sleeping to standing or sitting to standing induce any dizziness?

Measures you can take include:
1. Avoiding falls: At your age it can be a serious debilitating and would take long time to heal
2. Cane support: Using proper cane of right length is essential
3. Strengthening lower limb muscles and balance training exercises are necessary.

If you can give more details about laboratory reports and further history of symptoms in relation to timings, positions and steps taken, I will try to help you more
Any further queries, do ask again.
Dr. Prakash HM

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Answered by
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Dr. Prakash H Muddegowda

Geriatrics Specialist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 2138 Questions

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What causes dizziness in the elderly?

Brief Answer: It is not related to ear infectio or sinus problem Detailed Answer: Hi, I am Dr. Prakash HM and I would like to answer your query. Dizziness in the elderly is common and is due to multiple causes. Possible causes include: 1. Delayed response to balance change is common in healthy older adults 2. Neurological conditions - should be negative as you have been tested 3. Vestibular dysfunction - due to age related changes in vestibular portion. --Ear infection or sinus allergies are not deep enough to affect the vestibular portion and cause imbalance-- 4. Drug side effects: Amiodarone is known to cause dizziness (When were you started on amiodarone? does it correlate with start of your symptoms?) Does postural variation from sleeping to standing or sitting to standing induce any dizziness? Measures you can take include: 1. Avoiding falls: At your age it can be a serious debilitating and would take long time to heal 2. Cane support: Using proper cane of right length is essential 3. Strengthening lower limb muscles and balance training exercises are necessary. If you can give more details about laboratory reports and further history of symptoms in relation to timings, positions and steps taken, I will try to help you more Any further queries, do ask again. Dr. Prakash HM