Diabetes , Aging & Balance

Healthcare providers discuss the balance problem with 8 million adults in the United States every year. 90% of the hip fractures are results of fall due to the balance issues, according to the Harvard health report. Low bone density, poor muscle mass and poor balance causes 20-30% of injuries in the seniors every year.

Inactivity is a major factor that causes balance problems. Doing light aerobic exercise to maintain flexibility can help. As one grows old one must keep on working to increase mobility, sharpen reflexes, and build core muscles.

Some main reasons for balance problems in Diabetics are:

1. Diabetic Neuropathy:

Diabetic Neuropathy is a complication which develops due to elevated blood sugars, affecting the connection of the brain and the body to work together for foot placement. 50% of the Diabetics develop peripheral neuropathy which is the most common form of diabetic nephropathy. Burning sensation, numbness and tingling and stabbing pain while lying down are some common symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases like lupus lyme disease , Shingles infection, chronic back issues are some common causes of neuropathy. Alcoholism, chemotherapy, exposure to heavy toxic metals, vitamin B deficiency are other common reasons for neuropathy. All these lead to balance issues. People with diabetes should keep their A1c levels close to 7% and should stay active.

2. Benign positional paroxysmal Vertigo:

When inner ear crystals shift they cause dizziness resulting in balance problems. This can be the result of a sickness or for no specific reason. The condition is curable by professionals through a 15 minute pain-free procedure which may need to be repeated several times.

3. Eye problems:

Eye conditions like cataract and glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, distorted vision or blurriness causes balance problems in Diabetic patients.

4. Meniere's Disease:

This is caused due to a viral infection or allergies. Excess fluid buildup in the inner ear causes Vertigo and hearing problems resulting in the balance issues. Cutting caffeine intake as well as alcohol and sodium intake can be helpful. Using water pills under guidance can regulate fluid volumes in the inner ear.

5. Medications or combinations of Medications

Drugs are absorbed and metabolized differently affecting balance, as we age. But do not stop taking medications voluntarily even if they may be causing Vertigo dizziness or balance problems. Consult your physician for changing the medications or the combination of medications that are causing the symptom. Even better would be to check out sanexas treatment which is drug free and FDA cleared treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy and related ailments like loss of balance.

6. Decrease in vestibular functions:

It is an idiopathic condition for which there is no specific cause. Increased Vertigo and nausea is experienced while moving head from side to side. Autoimmune disease, meningitis or cognitive loss could be one of the causes.

7. Spinal Stenosis:

As we age,the spinal cord starts pressing against the bones and creates pressure which affects our ability to walk and maintain balance.

8.High blood pressure / Low blood pressure:

Any of these conditions can make a difference in the balance. In high blood pressure taking prescribed medications and keeping proper weight will help. In low blood pressure one should drink adequate amounts of fluids and should not cross legs and stand up slowly.

Ways to help maintain balance through aging process whether you have diabetes or not:

  • 1. Avoid moving in ill lit spaces.
  • 2. Wear flat or low heeled well fitting shoes. They should have no-slip bottoms.
  • 3. Handrails and hand bars at proper places can be of great help non-slip mats and or padded mats can also help.
  • 4. Do not Rush out of bed. First dangle your legs before coming to a standing position.
  • 5. Get eyeglasses prescriptions checked yearly or whenever required. Blurred vision is the leading cause of balance issues in adults.
  • 6. Get a blood pressure monitor to check the pressure in standing, sitting and lying down positions, once a month. Notice variation if any, use an arm cuff & not a wrist cuff.
  • 7. Do not walk barefoot or in the plain socks and have a clear walkway in all sitting areas at home.
  • 8. Use some assisting devices like a cane or a walker to help maintain the balance.

How to work on balance issues (Don’t do this unsupervised & consult your physician)

  • 1. Stand on one foot for 20 seconds and work up to 60 seconds, for each side, dominant leg first. You can practice anytime anywhere. Beginning by holding some object with your hand then two fingers and then nothing. As you advance, close your eyes while practicing.
  • 2. Practice walking heel to toe in a straight line. Try placing one foot directly in front of the Other. focus on some object, hold your arms out to the side like wings.
  • 3. Try doing leg lifts to the front, back and side to develop leg strength. Do leg squats without lifting any weights.
  • 4. Try to sit or stand without the help of your hands.
  • 5. Wear shoes with a wide toe box and having thick rubber soles. Replace them without delay if the shoes have worn out.
  • 6. Walk on well lit and familiar walkways only.
  • 7. Maintain healthy weight and sleep well to get increased reaction time and balance.
  • Maintaining balance should not become a problem as we age, stay active, work on the balance while taking precautions and stay safe.