How Good Is Your Balance

What Causes Poor Physical Balance?

Poor physical balance can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose poor physical balance, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "poor physical balance" as a symptom.  Here are four possibilities:
  • Mercury Toxicity
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Premature Aging
  • Vitamin B12 Need

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
having had a small bowel resection
shortness of breath when at rest
occasional confusion/disorientation
waking up with dry eyes
minor joint pain/swelling/stiffness
severe tongue swelling
elevated urine MMA levels
loss of appetite
metallic taste in mouth
chronic diarrhea
very tender muscles
dark spots on gums
... and more than 70 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of poor physical balance:
Cause Probability Status
Vitamin B12 Need 98% Confirm
Mercury Toxicity 15% Unlikely
Muscular Dystrophy 5% Ruled out
Premature Aging 2% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Symptoms Of Aging section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about how good is your balance:
How good is your balance? Stand on a hard surface with feet together. Close your eyes and lift your dominant foot about six inches (15cm). How long can you stand on your other foot without falling or opening your eyes? Try to do this 3 times and average.
Possible responses:
→ I can't do this test / I am injured / don't know
→ Under 4 seconds (poor balance)
→ 4-9 seconds
→ 10-25 seconds
→ Over 25 seconds (very good balance)
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate poor balance, average balance or good balance, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Premature/Signs of Aging

Reuters, March 17, 2008: How well people get around and keep their balance in old age is linked to the severity of changes in their brains, research suggests.  Age-related white matter brain changes are associated with gait and balance disturbances.

Dr. Hansjoerg Baezner, from University of Heidelberg in Mannheim, Germany, and colleagues studied the impact of age-related white matter changes on functional decline in 639 men and women between the ages of 65 and 84 who underwent brain scans as well as walking and balance tests.  Of the group, 284 had mild age-related white matter changes, 197 moderate changes, and 158 severe changes.

They found that people with severe white matter changes were twice as likely to score poorly on tests of walking and balance as those with mild white matter changes.  They further found that people with severe changes were twice as likely as the mild group to have a history of falls.  The moderate group was one-and-a-half times as likely as the mild group to have a history of falls.

Vitamin B12 Requirement

Difficulty with balance is a symptom of B12 deficiency.

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