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From September 18 to 24, the first edition of the Week of Balance and Vertigo is held in France. The opportunity to talk about vestibular disorders and the risk of falls in particular, which can result from it.
Do you sometimes feel dizzy or lose your balance? You are not alone. This is why the Vestibular Physiopathology Research Group is organizing a Balance and Dizziness Week, on the model of the “Balance Awareness Week” held in the United States. The goal? Raising public awareness of this little-known but truly disturbing disorder on a daily basis.
Dizziness: 3rd reason for consultation in France
For Christian Chabbert, CNRS researcher and director of GDR Vertige, behind this awareness week, the subject of vestibular pathologies is still too little known to the general public, and too often reduced to a sign of fatigue or old age. “The notion of pathology concerning vertigo is still recent, whereas vestibular disorders can be much more violent than we think, for the person who experiences them: vertigo, nausea and vomiting, environment that rotates in a disabling way, but also risk of falling, work stoppages, even anxiety and isolation” warns the expert.
Moreover, the subject turns out to be much broader than it seems also in the territory: according to the latest figures from the researcher, dizziness and loss of balance represent 300,000 consultations per year and the 3rd reason for consultations among general practitioners, after headaches and fever but before stomach aches.
Sensitize the person who suffers, and his entourage
Not minimizing dizziness, making the course of treatment more fluid, that is the primary objective of this week of Balance.
“Through this campaign, we want above all to educate patients and invite them to consult, when they are still hesitating because the vertigo does not seem very visible to them. It may be the ear, but other causes may be involved: trauma, bacterial infection, drug poisoning (after chemotherapy, for example). You have to consult. Rehabilitation is also possible to regain comfort.
But the researcher also mentions a need to raise awareness in the direct environment: “Our campaign also wants to open the eyes of those around you, family or professional, who very often minimize the ills of vestibular pathologies when they turn out to be disabling on a daily basis”.
Finally, the week of Balance and Dizziness particularly targets “decision makers”. “Vestibular pathologies are perhaps less visible than others, but also require resources, for research, to find a treatment that does not yet exist. We tend to forget that these dizziness, far from being trivial, induce a significant human and financial cost in consultations, SAMU interventions in particular, care and rehabilitation after a fall… It is time to take them into account” believes Christian Chabbert.