What is Balance Disorder Test?
A balance disorder is a condition where you feel unsteady or dizzy. You might experience spinning or tipping over while you are standing, sitting, or even lying down in this condition. This might interrupt your daily activities in life. Sometimes it also leads to falls.
Millions of people had this balance or dizziness problem all over the world. Most of the time, balance disorders are relatively harmless and to diagnose the exact cause is very difficult to find. It may be caused due to certain health problems, medications, or any other problems associated with the ear or brain. A balance disorder might lead to psychological & emotional hardship.
What are the signs & symptoms of a balance disorder?
You might experience the following symptoms if you have this balance disorder.
- A spinning sensation called Dizziness or vertigo
- A feeling as if you are going to fall down.
- Unstable feeling when you walk.
- Lightheadedness or a floating sensation.
- Vision problems
- Confusion or disorientation.
Some other symptoms include nausea & vomiting, frequent diarrhoea problems, changes in your heartbeat and blood pressure, anxiety, or panics. The symptoms vary from person to person, which may come and go. They may last over short periods of time or for a long time. They can also lead to weakness and depression.
What are the causes of balance disorders?
There were many problems that cause balance problems, which include:
- Ear infections or inflammation
- Meniere’s disease
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Strenuous physical activities
- acoustic neuroma – it is a type of tumour that can cause balance problems
- Poor circulation of blood
- Certain type of medications
- A chemical imbalance in your brain
- low or high blood pressure
- Certain neurological conditions
- Increasing age
- Chronic medical conditions like Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease etc.
- Stroke due to blockage of blood flow
- Sedentary lifestyle
Unfortunately, balance problems start all of a sudden and with no apparent cause.
What are balance disorder tests?
Various systems in your body should work together to maintain a good balance. The vestibular system is the most important body system to maintain good balance. This is the system of vertebrates located in the inner ear, which includes nerves and other structures that maintain your balance. Proper vision and sense of touch also play an essential role in good balance. If any of the systems don’t function well, you may experience balance problems leading to balance disorders.
To diagnose these balance disorders, a group of tests are done known as balance disorder tests. They might include:
Hearing tests – Hearing problems are often associated with balance problems.
Posturography test – This test can measure your standing ability. During this test, you will be made to stand on a platform with barefoot, wearing some safety harness. They will place a landscape screen around you, and the platform moves around. It tests the ability to stand still on a moving surface. This test can determine which parts of your balance system you mostly rely on.
Electronystagmography(ENG) and videonystagmography(VNG) tests: Both ENG & VNG tests measure and record the movements of your eye. A good vision system plays a major role in maintaining proper balance.
You will be made to sit in the chair in a dark room and asked to look & follow some light patterns displayed on a screen. You may also be asked to move around into various positions watching this light pattern. The doctor will put a little warm and cool water or air in each ear, which causes your eyes to move in particular ways. If your eyes don’t respond, it is an indication that your nerves in the inner ear have problems.
Electronystagmography records your eye movements with the help of an electrodes system, whereas Videonystagmography records your eye movements by small cameras.
Rotary chair test – It is also termed as a rotary test, which is another type of test to analyze your eye movements. You will be asked to sit in a computer-controlled chair. Then some special goggles are arranged to record your eye movements by moving the chair slowly back and forth and in a circle.
Dix-Hallpike maneuver – This is a test that measures the reaction of your eye to abrupt movements. In this test, the doctor will move you swiftly into different positions, like sitting to a lying down position and vice versa or moving your head in various positions. Your eye movements will be monitored at this time to check whether you are having any false sense of motion or spinning.
A modified version of this test is also available, called a video head impulse test (vHIT), where your eye movements with the help of special goggles.
Vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials test – This test is to measure how specific muscles respond or react to different sounds. It can help to diagnose your inner ear problems. In this test, sensor pads will be fixed to your neck & forehead, under your eyes, and earphones in your ears. They play different sounds to measure small changes in your muscle contractions in reaction to sounds.
Imaging tests – to determine any underlying medical problems that cause balance problems, MRI and CT scans might be suggested.
Your blood pressure and heart rate tests are also done in different positions like sitting and standing to find if you are having any significant blood pressure drops.
Balance disorder treatment
After the tests, if you were diagnosed with a balance disorder problem, your doctor might suggest a treatment plan based on the cause of the balance disorder. The treatment plans might include:
- Medicine for severe vertigo that persists hours or days
- Balance retraining therapy, also called vestibular rehabilitation
- Positioning procedures are often called the Epley maneuver, or canalith repositioning procedure if you are diagnosed with Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
- Changes in diet and lifestyle if you are diagnosed with Meniere’s disease or migraine headaches.
- Surgery – If you are having Meniere’s disease or acoustic neuroma that doesn’t improve with other treatment options, you may be recommended to undergo surgery.
If you or your family members face any balance disorder problems, consult our experts at Premier Hospitals. We are having the best doctors for balance disorder treatment. You no need to live a dizzy life due to balance problems. One way or the other, we can help you to overcome balance problems.
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Santosh Kumar Paila