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Why do I feel unsteady on my feet now that I am a senior?

This is a common question as we get older. You may be wondering where your balance went as the years went on. Maybe you are lamenting the ability to literally run to the store on the corner. Maybe you had a bad fall and you’re scared it will happen again. This is normal.

Don’t worry, it’s simple science. As we age, our body deteriorates. Simply put, certain things just stop working. As embarrassing as it is to be known as the man or woman who fell while he/she was alone on the weekend, we must face the reality that having balance problems later in life is normal.

DISCLAIMER: While we say that this is normal, please keep in mind that chronic (when it happens A LOT) dizziness or falling could be symptoms of something more serious. Please seek medical advice.

In general, elderly people are prone to a multitude of diseases that affect these systems, including vision problems like cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic peripheral neuropathy, (which hinders your ability to feel anything in your legs or feet). But even if you aren’t suffering from any sort of illness, you could be feeling unsteady simply because your body isn’t the same as it used to be.

Typically, the average 65 year old’s muscles are a bit weaker than they were a few years ago. Even if you jog half a mile every day (by the way, go you!) it would take a lot of work to regain the glory days of being a 20-something track star in college.

It has a lot to do with our food, too. It turns out insulin problems aren’t just for diabetics. As we age, the insulin in our bodies stops working to slow down the breakdown of muscles. Not only do we have problems building muscles, but our body stops the rebuilding process too.

There could be some other reasons too. Something called the vestibular system is connected to centers in the brain that also control our balance. When the vestibular system and brain determine that you’re going to fall over, the brain directs the body to do something about it.

As we age, cells in the vestibular system die. This affects how accurately our body knows where we are. Therefore we can’t easily correct the problem.

So there we have it. Elderly balance issues could range from a multitude of things, most of them a natural part of life. So maybe it’s time to let go of some pride and buy a fancy cane, pay closer attention to how you get around, or imagine life on four wheels, but regardless of your situation please remember—nine times out of ten, this is just the way that life progresses. It doesn’t mean that you can’t live life to the fullest.



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