More than one in 20 US kids suffer dizziness, balance problems

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New York, Jan 29 (IANS) Nearly 3.3 million children in the US aged three to 17 – more than one in every 20 kids – report dizziness or balance problems, a study has revealed.

Researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) in the US found that girls (5.7 percent) have a higher frequency of dizziness and balance problems as compared to boys (5 percent).

Non-Hispanic white children had an increased frequency of dizziness and balance problems (6.1 percent) when compared with Hispanic (4.6 percent) and non-Hispanic black (4.3 percent) children, the study showed.

“These findings suggest that dizziness and balance problems are fairly common among children, and parents and providers should be aware of the impact these problems can have on our children,” said James F. Battey, director at NIDCD.

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As the children grow older, the frequency increases, the analysis, published online in The Journal of Pediatrics, revealed.

While 4.1 percent of kids between three and five have these problems, nearly double, 7.5 percent, the proportion of older teenagers, between ages of 15 and 17, suffer the same. And the percentages rise through the years.

Children with difficulty in hearing were twice more likely to have dizziness or balance problems compared with children who had normal hearing, the study pointed out.

Other risk factors associated with dizziness and balance problems included impairments that limit a child’s ability to crawl, walk, run or play; frequent headaches or migraines, a history of seizures, stuttering or stammering, anemia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Attention deficit disorder, and stuttering were found more common in boys, while anemia, hearing difficulties, and respiratory allergies were associated with the condition in girls.

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Possible symptoms included vertigo, poor balance/unsteadiness when standing up, clumsiness/poor coordination, frequent falls, fainting or light-headedness, etc, the study elicited.

Some of the causes found by the researchers were neurological problems, ear infections, head or neck injuries or concussions, developmental motor coordination disorder, genetic causes, metabolic problems such as hypoglycemia, prescription medication or drugs, severe headaches or migraines, malformation of the ear, and vision problems, the study revealed.

The researchers took data from the Child Balance Supplement to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and analyzed it on nearly 11,000 children, ages 3 to 17, based on parents’ responses to the survey.

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