FINDING BALANCE ALGORITHM
There are various types of dizziness with many potential causes. Older adults should be encouraged to tell their doctor if they feel dizzy or light-headed. The three main types of dizziness are vertigo (false sense of motion/ often described as a spinning or whirling sensation), disequilibrium (feeling off-balance or wobbly) and pre-syncope (feeling lightheaded, going to black-out or faint). Many older adults, though, are hard to categorize and/or have more than one type of dizziness.
Medications can cause dizziness, so caution is required every time a new medication is started. Some medications can affect the balance mechanism in the ear (e.g., some antibiotics), while others lower blood pressure with standing and cause light-headedness. Dizziness can occur with analgesics (e.g., opioids such as morphine), medications for depression or mood problems, drugs used for bladder problems, seizure medicines, muscle relaxants and drugs for Parkinson’s disease. Concerns about dizziness being from one or more medications should be discussed with the physician, pharmacist, or nurse practitioner.
Dehydration can also make older adults feel dizzy. Older adults often do not drink enough fluids. Most people can safely drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluids including water each day. Clients with heart failure, or those on water pills, should talk to their healthcare provider about how much fluid they should drink.