Everyday struggles with dizziness.
Thankfully, many people will not experience prolonged dizziness, vertigo or balance issues.
But, with 40% of people having an issue with dizziness and vertigo at some point in their lifetime, the chances are you will, or have, come across someone who does.
Without experiencing these symptoms yourself it can be hard to appreciate which situations can make their dizziness worse.
Here are some tasks people with dizziness can struggle with:
· Supermarkets – the different shapes and colours on the shelves and in someone’s peripheral vision can be very disorientation for many. Add in the lighting and seeing the floor through the trolley while it is moving and it can trigger serious dizziness and unbalance.
· Escalators – often worse going down. Can be a big problem in some bigger shops where there are no steps, since lifts can also cause problems for many.
· Passenger in a car/bus – many think this is just normal and should just be accepted, but can often be a sign of an underlying visual provoked dizziness or other vestibular dysfunction. When a journey in a car makes you feel so bad, many stop taking the journeys and start becoming isolated – which can lead to many other issues.
· Parties/ Cafés – with a buoyant environment many would never think of this as a trigger. But, with lots of movement, hustle and bustle and having to concentrate on someone’s mouth and face while they talk is tough for many and makes the whole experience an ordeal.
· Getting something out of a bottom/ top shelf – bending down in general can throw many people off and can lead to falls. If someone lives on their own this becomes a bigger problem and often leads to them taking unnecessary risks or going without. If you know someone who has these problems, ask if they need help rearranging their kitchen cupboards to help them find it easier to cook and cope.
· Cinemas – the dark lighting can play havoc with the senses and the movement on the screen leads to many closing their eyes and hoping the film is over quickly. The imbalance can be serious on the stairs - so if someone is using their phone light to get in and out of the cinema this may be why so go easy on them. Although, it’s no excuse for having the ringer on loud!
· Funky wallpaper – more popular now than previous, but the patterns and colours can make many feel nauseous and dizzy, leading them to turn away or run for the exit. Maybe something to bear in mind when redecorating an office or reception area?
· Lifts – as mentioned earlier - going at a decent spend straight up or down stimulates the otolith organs and can throw someone off kilter for the rest of the day. Since this is an issue with movement, closing your eyes is of no benefit so many just hope the ride is over soon without too many stops.
· Washing hair – holding the head back can set the world off spinning and is not a pleasant experience. Couple this with the fact they may be doing it by themselves in a wet, slippery shower and you can imagine how easy it is for an accident to happen. It is safer to wash your hair while sat down on a bath chair and to have grab rails installed for support. If possible, have someone else present or use dry shampoo when you don’t need a thorough rinse and repeat.
· Walking – sunlight through the trees, different patterns of the countryside, dull lighting and uneven ground among many other issues can all make a leisurely stroll into a slog. The promise of a pint at the end, isn’t usually that much of a reward/ incentive for someone who already has balance and dizziness issues.
· Bridges – all of a sudden you go over a bridge in a car or when walking and the earth on each side of you has gone out of your peripheral vision. This ‘loss’ of ground in our vision can be very disorientating for many.
· Dentists – back to the issues of leaning a head back. If someone already has a fear of the dentist chair, feeling dizzy as well is not going to make a visit a particularly enjoyable one!
If you or anyone you know struggles with any of these issues, there is help! Contact the Dizziness, Balance & Concussion Centre and tell us your issues, so we can help you regain your balance.