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Balance is perhaps one of the most important things to maintain as you age. Unfortunately, as we age, we are at a higher risk of losing balance and falling. In fact, according to the CDC, more than 1 in 4 older adults will experience a fall each year. Such a loss of balance is not because of one thing but many factors.
That is why it is crucial to understand the various factors that affect your balance. Once you understand these factors, you can develop better habits that will aid you in creating better balancing abilities.
7 Factors that Affect Your Balance
Visual cues are one of the most important aspects of balancing. That is why when people are doing balancing exercises, they are always taught to look at one thing and focus on that. Unfortunately, it is common for vision to decline as we age, leading to balance challenges.
Besides that, if you have poor vision, you will also misjudge the distance when you reach to grasp an object. Doing this can lead to a fall. If you are having issues with your vision, visit the eye clinic and choose lenses that will help you see clearly.
Challenges with the vestibular system or inner ear are one of the most common causes of balance disorders. Your inner ear senses your head movements, body movements, and spatial position. Once it senses this, it will send information to your brain.
If there is a problem with your inner ear, you will feel lightheaded, dizzy, or unsteady. Besides that, you can also feel the sensation of movement even when you are still. Therefore, you should consult an audiologist so that they can evaluate your ear system and offer you proper treatment.
All medications have side effects, which can vary between individuals. A common side effect of medication is lightheadedness and dizziness. These are also common effects of taking blood pressure medications.
If you are on medications and think they make you dizzy, you should decrease the risk by standing up slowly. Doing this will allow your body to have time to adjust to the change in position. You can also consult your doctor and ask about a lower dosage if this problem is persistent.
Sleep deprivation can have harmful effects on your cognition and your entire body. If you don't get proper sleep, your day will pass groggily, and you will respond slowly to the stimuli around you. Besides that, your risk of tripping over objects will also increase as you might not notice all the obstacles in your path.
If you have difficulty falling asleep, you must assess your habits at night. It is crucial to create a routine and go to bed around the same time every night and also wake up at the same time every morning. Another thing you can do is to turn off your electronics before sleeping.
Finally, if you are still facing sleep troubles after following these guidelines, then be sure to consult your physician. They will identify the causes of sleep impairment and offer you solutions.
Joint And Muscle Problems
Joint and muscle problems are a significant component of balance. Your brain gets all the information from the body, including your joints, muscles, and skin. That is why illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis will also disrupt your balance.
Such illnesses interrupt motor control, so you might be prone to losing your balance and falling. Even muscle weakness and fatigue can cause such problems. So, be sure to do some exercises that help you strengthen your muscles and joints.
Once you do, you will fall less, and your sense of balance will become better. Of course, you can always consult a physiotherapist or personal trainer to help you strengthen your body and limbs.
You might be wondering how having heart conditions affect your balance? The answer is simple, and it lies in your blood flow. If you want your body and brain to function efficiently, you need sufficient blood flow.
If there is a deficiency in the blood flow, you will experience dizziness and balance difficulties. That is why people with heart valve disease, atherosclerosis, arrhythmia, and heart valve disease face challenges with balance. The only way to manage your heart problem is to consult your cardiologist and follow whatever they say to improve balance in the long run.
Yes, even stress and anxiety will cause you to lose your balance from time to time. That is because stress changes how your brain processes and responds to stimuli. Therefore, people who face heightened stress are more prone to balancing issues.
Besides that, stress can also cause hyperventilation, and it can reduce the oxygen amount that reaches your brain. Even this leads to dizziness and feeling lightheaded, which will cause your balance to disrupt. Therefore, it is important to find ways to cope with stress and manage your anxiety to maintain your balance even as you age.
These are seven significant factors that can affect your balance as you age. It is important to keep these factors in check and seek help, especially if you don't have anyone to care for you at all times. In addition, it's important to be able to pick yourself back up if you lose your balance or have another plan in place.
Healthy habits will lead to healthy aging, so you must try to lead an overall healthy lifestyle. So, begin taking charge of your life today by working on your balance.