gms | German Medical Science

80th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

20.05. - 24.05.2009, Rostock

Dizziness and falls of the elderly

Meeting Abstract

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German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. 80th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. Rostock, 20.-24.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09hno064

DOI: 10.3205/09hno064, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-09hno0649

Published: July 22, 2009

© 2009 Walther.
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Outline

Text

Disturbances of the equilibrium, especially gait end balance disorders in the elderly will increase in the coming years due to demographic changes in Germany. In addition to a reduction in the quality of life of affected patients, the risk of suffering from a fall increases with age. At the morphological level age-specific changes of the peripheral vestibular structures, somatosensory pathways and vision can be found, such as degenerative alterations, reduced number of cells and receptors and an accumulation of lipofuscin. Disorders of the equilibrium function in old age are individual-specific, complex procedures which develop from age-related physiological, degenerative alterations in the components of the sensomotor system which maintain equilibrium and can come into being together with vestibular and non-vestibular accompanying diseases as well as psychological factors. In many acute or chronic vestibular diseases in old age, the risk of falling is increased. A fear of falling often develops together with further limitations to physical activity and subsequent physical and psychological consequences. Falls represent a substantial health-related risk factor. A regular balance, walking and muscle training is an effective prophylaxis. Components of the treatment of vestibular diseases in old age are counselling and encouragement (psychotherapy), treatment of the specific organic disease, specific vestibular rehabilitation and a symptomatic medication therapy. Vertigo in old age is a multifactorial process. The differential diagnosis of disorders of the equilibrium function in old age represents a challenge which can only be overcome by interdisciplinary cooperation.


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