Common Causes of Balance Disorders in the Elderly

Having good balance is the ability to maintain and control the body’s position comfortably while standing, walking and running, climbing the stairs, or even sitting down. It’s a core element in maintaining your independence and addressing problems with balance can make carrying out routine activities much more difficult.

According to The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, falls are the leading cause of both nonfatal and fatal accidents for adults aged 65 and above. The journal also mentions how 30-40% of older adults experience at least one fall each year.

In this blog, we’ll go over some of the common causes of balance and gait disorders in the elderly.

Symptoms of Balance Problems

Problems with the bones, muscles, joints, heart, and blood vessels can trigger balance problems. Some of its signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling faint or lightheaded (presyncope)
  • Unsteadiness or loss of balance
  • Sense of spinning or motion (vertigo)
  • Vision problems
  • Confusion
  • Feeling dizzy

Causes of Balance Problems

Balance problems can be caused by a number of conditions with each symptom pointing to a specific health issue. Let’s go over a few symptoms and their underlying conditions.


Vertigo refers to a sense of spinning and motion and is likely caused by the following conditions:

  • Migraine: Sensitivity and dizziness to motion that occurs because of migraine headaches.
  • Head injuries:One of the reasons for experiencing vertigo is head injuries that result in concussions.
  • Meniere’s disease:In addition to dizziness, the disease can also cause a fluctuating loss of hearing, ringing sounds, and buzzing. Meniere’s disease is rare and its causes are yet to be fully understood.
  • Motion sickness: A sense of dizziness in boats, airplanes, cars, etc. Usually happens to people with migraines.

Feeling Faint or Lightheaded

Lightheadedness is associated with two diseases: cardiovascular disease and postural hypotension. The former includes thickened heart muscles, blocked or narrowed blood vessels, abnormal heart rhythms, or decreased blood volume. The latter involves a sharp drop in blood pressure whenever the person immediately stands or sits down.

Unsteadiness or Loss of Balance

A loss of balance can be traced back to a number of issues that include vestibular problems, the side effects of medications, muscle, vision, or joint problems, and nerve damage to the legs.

Especially in older adults, exercise and a healthy diet are necessary for combating balance disorders. AvantGarde Senior Living provides senior living homes in Van Nuys, California for older adults with balance problems. They have friendly and qualified staff that caters to all the needs of its senior members and community. Contact us today for more information.