About 69 million Americans over age 40 have some form of inner ear dysfunction that causes dizziness and makes them up to 12 times more likely to have a serious fall, says a HealthDay article based on a new survey by Johns Hopkins researchers.
- More than 22 million of those people are unaware of their risk, mostly because they’ve had no previous bouts of dizziness or sudden falls, said researchers who surveyed more than 5,000 men and women over age 40. Compared with patients with a normal, healthy sense of balance, patients with an inner ear dysfunction who had experienced no symptoms were three times more likely to suffer a potentially fatal fall than other people, while those who had experienced symptoms had a 12-fold greater risk. The survey found that 85% of respondents over age 80 had a balance problem, a rate 23 times higher than those in their 40s. People with diabetes were 70% more likely to have balance problems than those without the disease.
The results are published in the May 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.