Sociodemographic Correlates of Balance Dysfunctions among Older Adults: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2004

Taylor Johnson, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

Background: Dizziness and unstable balance are significant clinical problems among older adults due to the increased risk of falls and fall-related injuries. Falls are the leading cause of hospital admission and accidental death, and a major contributor to disability, mortality, and morbidity in older adults. The incidence of falls and fall-related injuries increase with age, which is problematic given the aging population of U.S. adults. To address this burden, this study focused on an often-neglected area of research regarding the causes of falls by examining the correlates of dizziness, difficulty with balance, and difficulty with falling. ^ Methods: This secondary data analysis used data from the 2001-2004 National Health Nutrition Examination Survey Balance Questionnaire, a nationally representative sample of adults aged 40 years and older (n=6,785), to describe the distribution of sociodemographic factors by reported balance dysfunction; to examine the age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of balance dysfunction; and to determine the age-adjusted (within sex categories) and age- and sex-adjusted (entire analytic sample) odds of composite balance dysfunction by sociodemographic factors and chronic conditions. ^ Results: The prevalence of reported balance dysfunction was 27.1% (n=1,834) among U.S. adults aged 40 years and older. For participants who reported composite balance dysfunction, 19.4% (n=1,318) reported dizziness problems; 17.8% (1,208) reported balance problems; and 7.9% (n=537) reported falling problems. The prevalence of reported balance dysfunction for adults < 65 years of age was 22.2% (n=848), and 33.4% (n=986) for adults ≥ 65 years of age. The odds of reported balance dysfunction increased for Other/Multi-Race males, were 25% higher among adults with less than a high school education, and were 198% higher among adults with < $24,999 annual household income. Adults with a history of congestive heart failure, angina pectoris, stroke, or excess weight had higher odds of reported balance dysfunction. ^ Conclusions: The prevalence of reported composite balance dysfunction is common among midlife/older adults, and the prevalence increases with age. Sociodemographic factors and common health conditions influence the prevalence of dizziness, difficulty with balance, and difficulty with falling, prompting a need for studies and/or interventions to reduce associated burden of balance dysfunctions in midlife/older adults.^

Subject Area

Gerontology

Recommended Citation

Johnson, Taylor, "Sociodemographic Correlates of Balance Dysfunctions among Older Adults: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2004" (2017). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10272785.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI10272785

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