Background: Dizziness is a common symptom in older adults. The majority of those with dizziness tend to have more than one risk factor, suggesting that dizziness is a multifactorial geriatric condition. Therefore, associated factors must be determined to permit risk-reduction approaches.
Objective: To examine the associations between dizziness and socio-demographic, physical, functional and psychological health factors among older persons living in the Andes Mountains.
Design: Population-based cross-sectional study.
Settings/participants: One thousand six hundred ninety-two community-living people aged 60 years and over living in four rural and suburban areas of villages in coffee-grower zones in the Colombian Andes Mountains.
Measurements: Outcome measures included self-reporting of dizziness as a symptom experienced either very frequently or continuously during the last month. Independent variables were demographic, socioeconomic and social factors; disease and biomedical factors; functional status and performance-based measures; and psychological factors such as depressive symptoms and self-rated health.
Results: Dizziness was reported by 15.2% of participants in the study. Variables independently associated with dizziness were: number of chronic conditions, visual impairment, and use of more than four medications. Independently associated psychological variables were: poor self-perceived health, cognitive impairment and depression. Health and psychological factors accounted for 85% of dizziness.
Conclusion: Older persons who reported dizziness were more physically frail, with more instances of chronic conditions and sensory impairments, and had poor self-perceptions of their health. Biomedical and psychological factors showed a strong independent association with dizziness. A multifactorial intervention targeting the identified factors would reduce dizziness in older people. However, this approach may need to address different sets of specific factors related to the dizziness categories.