Normal everyday activities are taken for granted, from the minute the first baby steps are taken. Balancing and falling down are part of this early developmental process, not becoming a problem until sometime later on in life, when falling down and dizziness limits an individual’s everyday abilities to do simple tasks, or even causes them to end up in the emergency room. Many are diagnosed with bad falls, broken bones, with some deaths occurring.
What is not known is that over half of the United States population has some type of balancing problem that affects their task ability on some level. Many are told it is not a real condition, only an imaginary situation or caused by stress-resulting in very few seeking treatment which until recently has not been available. Typically, the average person will see four or five doctors before getting an accurate diagnosis that eventually will add up to quite a bit of money-many without obtaining a diagnosis at all.
Beginning steps by NASA:
Recently, NASA has noticed many of their astronauts having similar problems, so their rocket scientists began researching into this area. They began to identify what was causing the astronaut’s and other patient’s unsteadiness, using infrared goggles to track the patient’s eyes. Meanwhile, the audiologist tested the hearing and inner ear, which has always been part of the original diagnosis. Yet when combined, these new technological tests and unique exercises began to change the diagnosis of the condition, resulting in new and updated corrections of the problems that were affecting the individuals. Once this experimental stage was completed, great things began to happen for not only NASA astronauts but also the public.
It was found that balance control was a complex process, associated with not only balance dysfunction but also with associated pathology. The reason many of the earlier diagnosis were inadequate was because this condition actually requires a comprehensive approach for a working resolution. Once this was accomplished, it was found that chronic balance and dizziness disorders could be managed in an effective manner. With the updated proper diagnosis, more positive functional outcomes began to result for the general population, in addition to the NASA astronauts.
Importance of the proper diagnosis:
The diagnosis is highly important and depends on accurate information from the beginning. This includes several key factors: the diagnosis of pathology, critical assessments of impairments; and functional limitations-not just the diagnosis of pathology alone, which is the usual step for the general clinician along with clinical observation. A target approach is required, which focuses on specific underlying impairments-both sensory and motor-in addition to the resultant functional limitations. New updated technology by NASA and related industries can provide this precise data, completing the clinical picture of the individual for the accurate diagnosis.
NASA’s new technology has saved several steps for the patient, in order to prevent “doctor shopping” which has been so necessary up until now. It provides clinical diagnosis that has been scientifically looked at and proven, in order to remain objective in the treatment planning. This will result in getting the patient to the level of care more quickly, and reducing activity restriction, fear, deterioration of the condition, and de-conditioning-all helping to reassure the patients and their family that there is medical help available. Up until now, there have been many individuals with balance disorders, with a shortage of comprehensive services. Now, thanks to NASA, there are clinical facilities available equipped to deal with this situation.