Prevalence of dizziness and vertigo in an urban elderly population

J Vestib Res. 2004;14(1):47-52.


The prevalence of balance symptoms (vertigo, dizziness, and dysequilibrium) was investigated in an epidemiological study of elderly people, the longitudinal and cross-sectional gerontological and geriatric population study from Göteborg, Sweden (H70). Three different age cohorts were studied, one at age 70, one at age 75 and one at ages 79, 82, 85, 88 and 90 years. Altogether 2011 participants answered the questionnaire at 3197 occasions. The overall prevalence of balance problems at age 70 was 36% (women) and 29% (men). Balance symptoms were more common among women than men, and increased with increasing age. At ages 88-90 years the corresponding values were 51-45%. The most common symptom was poor balance/general unsteadiness (11-41%). Rotatory symptoms occurred in 2-17%. Other types of symptoms were less common. Precipitating factors were rising from supine to sitting position in 17-40%. Balance symptoms in a side position were uncommon, but occurred more often when tilting the head backwards (up to 14%). Signs that possibly could indicate neurological involvement were uncommon. Falls in conjuncture to dizziness, vertigo and similar symptoms occurred in 7-15%, in about equal proportions indoors as outdoors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged / physiology*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dizziness / epidemiology*
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Supine Position / physiology
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Urban Population
  • Vertigo / epidemiology*