Symptoms and Diagnosis

Some people may have a balance problem without realizing it. Others might think they have a problem, but are too embarrassed to tell their doctor, friends, or family. You can help identify a possible balance problem by asking yourself some key questions and, if necessary, having your balance checked by a doctor.

Describing Symptoms

Balance disorders can be difficult to diagnose because patients sometimes find it hard to describe their symptoms to a doctor. Patients may use words such as "dizzy," "woozy," or "lightheaded" to describe what they are feeling. For some people, the feeling can be brief, while for others, it can last a long time, disrupting their daily lives.

Finding the Correct Diagnosis

Balance disorders are serious. Sometimes they are a sign of other health problems, such as those affecting the brain, the heart, or circulation of the blood. They are also a common cause of falls and fall-related injuries in older people. For these reasons, it is important to have a balance disorder diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Questions to Ask Yourself

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you should discuss the symptom with your doctor.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

If you think that you have a balance disorder, you should schedule an appointment with your family doctor. You can help your doctor make a diagnosis by writing down key information about your dizziness or balance problem beforehand and giving the information to your doctor during the visit. Tell your doctor as much as you can.

Write down answers to these questions for your doctor:

Seeing a Specialist

Your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist. This is a doctor and surgeon with special training in problems of the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck.

The otolaryngologist may ask you for your medical history and perform a physical examination to help figure out the possible causes of the balance disorder. He or she may also perform tests to determine the cause and extent of the problem.

Recommended Pages of Interest

causes-prevention.htm Causes and Prevention

Symptoms and Diagnosis Symptoms and Diagnosis

Treatment and Research Treatment and Research

Treatment and Research Balance Disorders

Treatment and Research Frequently Asked Questions

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