Another Awareness Week! Balance Awareness Week (September 16-22, 2012)

Yes, directly after the Invisible Illness Awareness Week, another awareness has popped its head to inform and to raise awareness for those who may not know anything about it or the challenges that it can present for the sufferer.

And what is this new awareness event you wonder?  Well, it’s now officially Balance Awareness Week hosted by the folks at VEDA an organisation that provides support and information for those living with a vestibular condition.  Some of you may be wondering that the term vestibular means – and to simply explain it is a word which refers to the inner-ear balance disorder.

In order to maintain great balance we need to be able to rely on the information from our brain, eyes, inner-ear and muscular-skeletal system.  However, when one of these becomes damaged through injury or a virus then our balance system can become impaired leading to symptoms such:

  • Dizziness (feeling of disequilibrium; or unsteadiness; imbalance)
  • Vertigo (spinning sensation)
  • Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears)
  • Hearing loss
  • Problems with vision
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • and many more!

Just as those from last week’s event, vestibular conditions are an invisible chronic illness as the symptoms nor its effects cannot be seen by an observer which lead many to underestimate or completely ignore the severity or the impact of the sufferer.  And as a person who lives with dizziness and vertigo every day, believe when I say that it is not a walk in the park and its effects are very real and can interfere with the ability to perform daily activities and tasks such as bathing or dressing.  Many people didn’t believe that I was suffering from dizziness or that I was overestimating the severity of it – and that is why this campaign is so important to teach people about the effects that vestibular and balance problems can have.  They are very real and sometimes can be mistaken for being under the influence of alcohol – so is an issue that people need to be addressed on especially as there have been cases of those with vestibular disorders being arrested on the suspicion for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.  Another great example of why we shouldn’t judge books by their covers – we don’t know the true facts.

To learn more about the Vestibular system, you can read the VEDA pamphlet on the ’10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Balance (Vestibular) System’

And to find more about Vestibular Disorders, here is the VEDA Factsheet of Facts, Figures and Trivia

To find out more about vestibular disorder and the work of VEDA then please visit their website: http://vestibular.org/

And to learn more about the VEDA campaign of Balance Awareness Week and how you can help please visit: http://vestibular.org/BAW

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