It can start in the feet, in the brain, or the ear. “There are many different reasons people have balance disorders. Anything from neuropathy, where you can’t feel your feet can cause you to be imbalanced. People can have migraines that can cause them to be imbalanced,” said Dr. Drew Horlbeck, an otolaryngologist on the medical staff of Lee Health.
But there are times when balance problems start in the inner ear. “We would call that vertigo. The sensation of motion while you’re standing still and people have those symptoms then you look more in depth to see if it’s the inner ear causing those issues,” said Dr. Horlbeck.
Another inner ear condition that can cause imbalance is Meniere’s disease. “Meniere’s disease is an inner ear problem where there’s a pressure issue within the fluid of the inner ear so that patients will have discrete episodes of ringing in the ear, fullness, decreased hearing and vertigo,” he said.
If doctors find any problems in the inner ear, patients may undergo balance testing or centralized testing. “When there are difficult patients with balance or hearing disorders beyond just the ordinary, they send them to me,” Dr. Horlbeck said.
Depending on the problem, doctors may recommend nutritional changes like limiting caffeine and alcohol to help improve a patient’s symptoms. Other times, things like medication or physical therapy can help patients manage their symptom and improve their balance.
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