Balance Disorders in the Elderly: Does Instability Increase Over Time?

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Abstract

Objectives:

To analyze the equilibriometric differences between 2 populations of elderly patients (young elderly and very elderly) with instability induced solely by age.

Methods:

Cross-sectional study, with 2 study groups classified according to patient age (cut-points in twenty-fifth and seventy-fifth percentiles of the age of the sample). Population: 64 patients aged 65 years or more. Two groups of 32 subjects were established: group A (people 65 years of age or older but less than 72.6, twenty-fifth percentile) and group B (patients 82.5 years, seventh-fifth percentile, or older). Main analyzed variables: timed up-and-go test, sensory organization test of the computerized dynamic posturography, Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI), and Short Falls Efficacy Scale-International (FES-I) questionnaires. Student’s t test or the Mann-Whitney test were used.

Results:

The older patients obtain poorer scores in the equilibriometric tests but not in all of them. In the sensory organization test, the older patients make poorer use of visual and vestibular information; they also require more time and steps for the timed up-and-go. With regards to the questionnaires, fear of falling is greater (higher Short FES-I scores) but not subjective perception of disability (DHI scores without differences).

Conclusions:

There is a need to establish aged subgroups of elderly patients with instability, adapting therapeutic strategies.

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