Dizziness and Fall Statistics

  • 90 million Americans go to health care providers because of vertigo, dizziness or balance problems. It is the second most common complaint heard in doctor’s offices, and will occur in 70% of the nation’s population at sometime in their lives.
  • Nearly 20% of Americans 65-75 years of age currently have a balance disorder with that number increasing to 25% by age 75.
  • Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among people over 65. The costs to the Medicare and Medicaid programs and society as a whole from falls by elderly persons continue to climb much faster than inflation and population growth.
  • Balance disorders are the number one health complaint of patients over age 70.
  • Falls account for 50% of accidental deaths in the elderly, and 10% of falls result in hospitalization. The annual direct and indirect costs of fall-related injuries are estimated to reach $54.9 billion by the year 2020. Some estimates state that as many of half of all cases of dizziness are due to vestibular disorders.
  • Vertigo can be caused by both peripheral and central vestibular deficits. About three-fourths of vestibular disorders are peripheral (inner ear and vestibular nerve). The most common peripheral vestibular disorder is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, followed by uncompensated Ménière disease, vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis, perilymphatic fistula, and acoustic neuroma. Central vestibular deficits cause about one-fourth of dizziness. The most common central causes of dizziness and vertigo are cerebrovascular disorders, cerebellar disease, migraine, multiple sclerosis, tumors of the posterior fossa, neurodegenerative disorders, medications, and psychiatric disorders.
  • Although adults are typically plagued with dizziness and vertigo disorders, children also experience dizziness and vertigo. Children may be affected more than adults, and this prevents normal childhood activities that range from athletics to playground activities. The most common cause of childhood vertigo is benign paroxysmal vertigo of childhood.
  • Mild to severe head trauma is a leading risk factor for dizziness with 2 million new cases of traumatic brain injury every year.
  • Less than 10% of patients with balance and vestibular disorders are ever evaluated by a specialist (audiologist, otologist, otolaryngologist or neurologist).
  • More than 70% are evaluated and treated by their primary care physicians.

This information was supplied by the following organizations; please visit them for more information on vestibular disorders:

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