(Image via Balance Chicago)
Balance is something that many people take for granted. It is one of many wonderous ways the body gets you from point A to point Z and everywhere in between. However, for those of us living with a chronic illness that involves our ears and our balance, it is very hard to explain to others what it’s like living with an illness that can wreak such havoc with our lives. Dizziness, vertigo and disequilibrium are a daily part of our lives as well as falling, nausea, tinnitus, spending hours in bed, migraines and many other symptoms and side effects of having a vestibular illness.
The fifteenth annual Balance Awareness Week will be held September 18-24, 2011. Balance Awareness Week was established in 1997 by The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) “as a way to help raise awareness about the importance of balance and inner ear health”.
From the VEDA website:
Millions of people are affected by inner ear balance disorders. However, getting effective treatment is frequently complicated by the challenge of diagnosing the specific source of the problem. The impact on an individual’s work, family, and personal life is often made worse by the disorder’s invisibility to others. Balance Awareness Week was created to improve public understanding of inner ear balance disorders and their impact on the lives of affected individuals of all ages.
Here’s more information courtesy of the VEDA website:
- From 2001 through 2004, 35.4% of US adults aged 40 years and older (69 million Americans) had vestibular dysfunction.
- Vestibular vertigo accounts for one-third of dizziness/vertigo symptoms in the medical setting.
- Difficulty in performing one or more activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating, getting in and out of bed, using toilet, getting around inside home) is highly prevalent among adults with chronic balance or dizziness: 11.5% with chronic dizziness, and 33.4% with chronic balance.
- Overall, the cost of medical care for patients with balance disorders exceeds $1 billion per year in the United States.
If you or someone you know has an inner ear dysfunction, clinics and support groups will be offering free balance screenings, question and answer sessions and presentations during Balance Awareness Week. If you are able to attend, this would be a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about what is a very mysterious chronic illness to so many of us.