Stay safe, stay balanced

August 25, 2021
Healthy aging
5 min read

WRITTEN BY

Craig Turner, manager, Mount Nittany Health Fit for Play


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Nearly 8 million adults of all ages in the United States report balance disorders each year. Balance problems can interfere with everyday life, whether it’s feeling unsteady on stairs or when stepping off a curb at the street corner, when working in the garden, or when bending to remove items from a low cabinet. Balance issues can be obstacles at work if you feel you’re not as agile as you should be. If you experience problems with balance, there’s a new program at Mount Nittany Health that can help.

Mount Nittany Health Fit for Play’s new Balance & Fall Prevention Program, which launched in July, is dedicated to helping patients restore their balance and prevent falls.

As we age, balance issues are more common. Your stride can change as you get older, for example, and that can cause you to lose your balance. Balance issues after 50 years old are often worse when you go from sitting to standing up, walk around, or move your head horizontally or vertically. In adults over age 65, balance problems are linked to falls. One-third of adults in this age group and over half of people over the age of 75 years fall each year.

When you lose your balance, you can feel a range of symptoms afterward. You may feel dizzy, lightheaded, unsteady, or nauseous. You might feel as if the room is spinning. These feelings can happen whether you're lying down, sitting, or standing. After losing your balance, your symptoms may last for just a few minutes or for a few days.

Many medical conditions can cause balance problems. Body systems—including muscles, bones, joints, eyes, the balance organ in the inner ear, nerves, heart, and blood vessels—must work normally for you to have normal balance. When these systems aren't functioning well, you can experience balance problems.

Loss of balance or a feeling of unsteadiness can result from abnormalities in the inner ear, nerve damage to the legs, muscle weakness or unstable joints, difficulties with eyesight, and certain neurological conditions such as cervical spondylosis and Parkinson’s disease. Feeling unbalanced can also be a side effect of medications.

If left untreated, balance issues can lead to more falls and, potentially, serious injury. Balance issues can also make someone afraid of falling and so they become inactive, which results in frailty.

Through the new Balance & Fall Prevention Program, Mount Nittany Health physical therapists are specially trained to help patients improve balance, mobility, and strength; reduce their risk and fear of falling; and safely increase their activity levels and movement.

Our therapists create customized plans for each patient, tailored to their goals. Using evidence-based measures and best practice treatments, therapists track patient progress with efficient testing methods.

If you’re experiencing balance problems, consider scheduling an appointment with our physical therapists at the Balance & Fall Prevention Program. New patients of all ages are welcome, and convenient scheduling options are available. To schedule an appointment, call 814.861.8122.

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