Dizziness and falls in obese inpatients undergoing metabolic rehabilitation

Stefano Corna, Valentina Aspesi, Nicola Cau, Federica Scarpina, Natalia Gattini ValdeÂs, Luigia Brugliera, Veronica Cimolin, Paolo Capodaglio

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Aim The relationship between dizziness and falls in the obese population is a relatively unexplored issue. The aims of the present study were to define the 1-year prevalence of dizziness in an obese inpatient population undergoing metabolic rehabilitation and to investigate possible correlations with fall events. Materials and Methods We recruited 329 obese subjects: 203 female (BMI 43,74 kg/m2 ± 0.5 SE; age 17±83 years, 58.33 ± 0.9 SE) and 126 male (BMI 44,27kg/m2 ± 0.7 DE age 27±79 years, 58.84 ± 1 SE). To assess dizziness we used the validated Italian version (38) of the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI). Results Out of the experimental sample, 100 subjects did not complain of dizziness and felt confident about their balance control, while 69.6% reported some degree of dizziness. Their mean DHI score was 22.3, which corresponds to mild dizziness. Twenty-one percent reported more severe dizziness (DHI score < 40). The majority of our sample reported minor dizziness and its perception appears to be independent from BMI: DHI scores were consistent across classes of obesity. Discussion The rate of dizziness and falls (30.1%) in an this obese population was higher than that previously reported in a general matched population. However, obese subjects, in our sample, seem to underestimate their risk of fall and DHI score does not appear a reliable predictor of falls. Since complications associated with falls in obese persons generally require longer treatments than in lean individuals, our findings should be taken into account in order to identify other predictors, including cognitive and perceptual, of risk of fall and to implement fall prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0169322
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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