Balance and spatial orientation complaints, generically defined as "dizziness", are frequent in the elderly. They can cause a greater or lesser degree of handicap, and be associated with a greater or lesser degree of cognitive impairment and anxiety-depression symptoms. We examined 163 patients, referred for these complaints to the otoneurological outpatient services of 6 university hospital centres of the northern and central Italy, performing a bedside vestibular examination. The test allowed to distinguish between subjects with specific vestibular disorders (mainly BVP, Menière's disease and vestibular neuritis) and subjects in who the vestibular examination was not significant, and whose dizziness probably resulted from impairment or disease in multiple systems. The evaluation of the degree of handicap, using the Dizziness Handicap Inventory, showed that in the former group the physical parameters were significantly impaired with respect of a group of 81 age matched healthy controls, whereas the functional and emotional parameters were not. The evaluation of the degree of anxiety-depression, using the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale, showed that all elderly people with balance and spatial orientation complaints present a degree of anxiety, but not of depression, greater than the controls, irrespective of the vestibular or extravestibular origin of the symptoms. The evaluation of the cognitive level, using the Mini Mental Test, showed that it is similar to the cognitive level in the controls when, according to the results of the otoneurological examination, the balance and spatial orientation complaints are due to vestibular disorders, but it is impaired when these symptoms are related to a dizziness of multifactorial aetiology. The presence of comorbidities is also higher in these patients. It is likely that in the elderly balance and spatial orientation complaints not caused by specific vestibular disorders are due to a dizziness of multifactorial origin, both organic and psychic, that can be classified as a geriatric syndrome.
|Translated title of the contribution||The relationship between cognitive impairment, anxiety-depression symptoms and balance and spatial orientation complaints in the elderly|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica|
|Issue number||3 Suppl 79|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2005|
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