Purpose: Relatively little is known about the level of impairment in patients with dizziness.
Research question: How much does dizziness impair the quality of life of patients referred to a multidisciplinary dizziness unit?
Patients and methods: All 2,252 patients completed the Dutch version of the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI-D; score 0-100 with higher scores representing more impairment). The results were classified into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe impairment. The three domains in the DHI representing physical, functional, and emotional aspects of dizziness were compared, as well as DHI scores of men versus women, between diagnoses, and the relationship between DHI and age.
Results: A total of 2,242 patients (64% women, mean age 54 years) completed the DHI with a mean score of 40.6. Almost 70% of patients had moderate or severe complaints. The handicap perceived by patients was primarily caused by physical and functional factors and less by emotional factors. Female patients and patients with hyperventilation syndrome and/or anxiety disorder had significantly higher DHI scores on all subscales. There was an S-shaped relationship between DHI score and age, and older patients reported more impairment.
Conclusion: Dizziness has considerable impact on health-related quality of life of dizzy patients.