Balance Problems

Frequently Asked Questions

7. What causes balance disorders?

Some balance disorders are caused by problems in the inner ear. The part of the inner ear that is responsible for balance is the vestibular system, often refered to as the labyrinth. When the labyrinth becomes infected or swollen -- a condition called labyrinthitis -- it is typically accompanied by vertigo and imbalance. Upper respiratory infections, other viral infections, and, less commonly, bacterial infections, can lead to labyrinthitis.

Other balance disorders may involve another part of the body, such as the brain or the heart. For example, diseases of the circulatory system, such as stroke, can cause dizziness and other balance problems. Smoking and diabetes can increase the risk of stroke. Low blood pressure also can cause dizziness.

Aging, infections, head injury, and many medicines may also result in a balance problem.