How does balance predict disability in old age?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

We all take a misstep once in a while, even when sober and fully charged with sleep. If a young person falls, they will most likely stand up, brush themselves off and go on their merry way. A fall in an older person is not that easily handled.

Coordination and balance are remarkable because they require 3 sensory systems to be healthy and aligned: vision, body kinetics (muscles, bones and joints) and inner ear balance (vestibular). If any one of those systems goes off kilter, it can send someone tumbling. Vestibular dysfunction - dizziness and problems with balance - comes from problems in the inner ear. Changes here can predict a future of disability. Many elderly hospitalized with a fractured hip, for example, are never able to return home again.

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