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Prevalence and correlates of dizziness in the Ibadan Study of Ageing

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May 8, 2014
by Akeem O. Lasisi, MBChB, FWACS, FMCORL; Oye Gureje, MBBS, PhD, DSc


Dizziness is common among older people, but little is known about its prevalence and risk factors in the sub-Saharan population. We conducted a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of dizziness and its sociodemographic, lifestyle, and clinical correlates in 1,299 subjects-551 men (42.4%) and 748 women (57.6%), aged 65 years and older (mean: 77.3 ± 6.3)-who lived in the Yoruba-speaking areas of Nigeria. Among this group, 318 persons reported dizziness, which represents a prevalence of 24.5%. Univariate analysis of sociodemographic and lifestyle variables revealed that low economic status (p = 0.05) and smoking (p = 0.01) were significantly correlated with dizziness; however, on logistic regression analysis, only smoking (p = 0.01) was found to be significant. Neither sex (p = 0.07), age (p = 0.71), area of residence (p = 0.34), education level (p = 0.74), nor alcohol consumption (p = 0.44) had a significant correlation with dizziness. On multivariate modeling, significant clinical correlates in patients with dizziness included self-reports of a history of suppurative otitis media (p = 0.01), head injury (p = 0.03), and recurrent rhinosinusitis (p = 0.01); no significant correlation was seen between dizziness and hypertension, transient ischemic attack, and diabetes. Finally, balance testing conducted in a subset of 1,006 subjects revealed poor balance in 93 of 250 persons with dizziness (37.2%) and in 189 of 756 subjects without dizziness (25.0%) (p = 0.01). Logistic regression analysis of sex and age revealed that the probability of poor balance was 1.5 times greater among those persons with dizziness. We conclude that the high incidence of dizziness among community-dwelling elderly and its significant correlations with remediable medical conditions suggest the need for policy formulation for the care of the elderly in Nigeria.

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