- Balance Disorders Slideshow
- Take the Vertigo Quiz
- Tinnitus Slideshow: Why Are My Ears Ringing?
- Patient Comments: Vestibular Balance Disorders - Cause
- Patient Comments: Vestibular Balance Disorders - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Vestibular Balance Disorders - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Vestibular Balance Disorders - Treatment
- Find a local Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor in your town
- What is a balance disorder?
- How does the vestibular system work?
- What are the symptoms of a balance disorder?
- What causes a balance disorder?
- What are some types of balance disorders?
- How is a balance disorder diagnosed?
- How is balance disorder treated?
- How do I know if I have a balance disorder?
- How can I help my doctor make a diagnosis?
- What research is being done for balance disorders?
Quick GuideBalance Disorders: Vertigo, Motion Sickness, Labyrinthitis, and More
What are the symptoms of a balance disorder?
If your balance is impaired, you may feel as if the room is spinning. You may stagger when you try to walk or teeter or fall when you try to stand up. Some of the symptoms you might experience are:
- Dizziness or vertigo (a spinning sensation)
- Falling or feeling as if you are going to fall
- Lightheadedness, faintness, or a floating sensation
- Blurred vision
- Confusion or disorientation
Other symptoms are nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, and fear, anxiety, or panic. Some people also feel tired, depressed, or unable to concentrate. Symptoms may come and go over short time periods or last for longer periods of time.
What causes a balance disorder?
A balance disorder may be caused by viral or bacterial infections in the ear, a head injury, or blood circulation disorders that affect the inner ear or brain. Many people experience problems with their sense of balance as they get older. Balance problems and dizziness also can result from taking certain medications.
In addition, problems in the visual and skeletal systems and the nervous and circulatory systems can be the source of some posture and balance problems. A circulatory system disorder, such as low blood pressure, can lead to a feeling of dizziness when we suddenly stand up. Problems in the skeletal or visual systems, such as arthritis or eye muscle imbalance, also may cause balance problems. However, many balance disorders can begin all of a sudden and with no obvious cause.