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Vertigo: Staying Safe When You Have Balance Problems

Introduction

Many people experience the spinning sensation of vertigo. The loss of balance it causes puts you at risk for falling and can also affect your quality of life if your fear of falling leads to a less active lifestyle.

Vertigo may be a lifelong symptom of conditions such as Ménière's disease or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). But if you have vertigo, you can reduce your risk of injury and remain active by taking personal precautions and making your home environment safe.

How can you make your environment safer?

You can make your home safer:

  • Do not use throw rugs. Use nonskid mats.
  • Install grab bars near the bathtub and toilet.
  • Use night-lights.
  • Keep floors dry to prevent slipping.
  • Store household items on low shelves to eliminate the need to climb or reach high. If climbing is essential, use a step stool with handrails.
  • Keep driveways, sidewalks, and interior walkways clear of anything that might cause you to trip.

Personal tips that can help prevent injury during an episode of vertigo:

  • Avoid driving.
  • Avoid working at heights.
  • Wear shoes with low heels and nonslip soles.
  • Keep your shoes tied.
  • Alert family and friends to your condition and how they can help during an attack of vertigo.
  • Know whether medicines you take can affect your sense of balance.

Using a safety checklist(What is a PDF document?) can help you make your home environment safe. Use it to be sure that your living space is free from clutter and that your bathroom and kitchen are safe.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Current as ofMay 4, 2017


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