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June 1, 2003

Athanasios Katsarkas, MD, MSc, FRCS(C), Professor of Medicine, McGill University; Director, Dizziness Clinic, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC.

Dizziness is a frequent complaint in aging. Although a number of circumstances in everyday life may cause falls and injuries, such events are often due to dizziness induced by pathology. Dizziness as a consequence of more than one organic syndrome is not uncommon in the elderly. In addition, medication may further complicate the clinical picture. Such combinations may pose diagnostic challenges. This paper deals briefly with postural and gaze control in health and disease, how to take the history in dizziness, some peculiarities of the clinical examination, and the most common syndromes of brain stem or inner ear diseases that cause dizziness in general and, more specifically, in aging.
Key words: dizziness, vertigo, falls, vestibular dysfunction, brain stem disease.

Athanasios Katsarkas, MD, MSc, FRCS(C), Professor of Medicine, McGill University; Director, Dizziness Clinic, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC.

Dizziness is a frequent complaint in aging. Although a number of circumstances in everyday life may cause falls and injuries, such events are often due to dizziness induced by pathology. Dizziness as a consequence of more than one organic syndrome is not uncommon in the elderly. In addition, medication may further complicate the clinical picture.