LIVINGSTON, NJ - Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) has opened a new Balance Program to help individuals who experience dizziness, light-headedness (also referred to as vertigo), ongoing nausea and other balance related problems.

Dizziness and vertigo—classic symptoms of a vestibular balance disorder—can strike at any age, but are most common as people get older. In fact, one of the most common causes for injuries in older persons is dizziness. The ear is a complicated system that functions together with one’s vision to help maintain balance.

According to Saint Barnabas’ Director, Public Relations and Marketing, Sally Malech, MPH, RD, “One’s sense of balance is made up of the way that a person hears and sees. Senses such as sight and hearing, define the interaction of balance and movement. For example, as people move, the fluid in their ear moves with them. This contributes to their brain’s ability of balance. Likewise, other areas within the ear feel the sensation of movement based on the movement of the fluid. Common causes of balance disorders include: medications, infections and inner ear problems, such as those related to poor circulation in the ear and problems rooted in the brain, such as traumatic brain injury or tumor.”

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Symptoms include dizziness, feeling off-balance, feeling as if you are floating or as if the world is spinning around you, blurred vision, disorientation and falling or stumbling. Less common symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety, fear, and changes in the heart’s rhythm. When not treated, these possible complications of a balance disorder include injury because of an increased risk of falling, reduced quality of life and discomfort.

SBMC’s Balance Center coordinates care, testing and therapy to assist patients in identifying causes of dizziness and loss of balance as well as the treatment to correct the balance issues. The multidisciplinary teams of medical experts include otolaryngologists, physical therapists, audiologists and vestibular diagnostic technicians offering diagnosis and targeted treatment recommendations to address balance issues including balance training, vestibular rehabilitation, therapeutic exercise, and falls prevention strategies.

“Our goal is to help you maintain a safe and active lifestyle, said Malech. “While feeling lightheaded or dizzy occasionally happens to most people, those who frequently experience these sensation and find it affects their quality of life, should speak with their doctor or call The Balance Center at 973-322-5075.”