People with balance disorder more at risk of mortality, cancer, and CVD: JAMA
USA: People with balance disorder are at increased risk of death from all causes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the long term, finds a recent study in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.
Difficulty in maintaining balance is usual in people aged 40 years or above and increases the risk of falls and serious injuries. However, not much is known about the association between balance function and long-term mortality outcomes in adults. Considering this, Chao Cao, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, and colleagues aimed to investigate the association of balance function with all-cause and cause-specific mortality among US adults.
For the purpose, the researchers conducted a prospective, population-based cohort study of a nationally representative sample of 5816 adults (weighted population, 92 260 641) from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2004. It included adults aged 40 years or older who completed the modified Romberg Test of Standing Balance on Firm and Compliant Support Surfaces -- used to measure balance function and define balance disorder according to sensory input.
Participants were linked to mortality data from the test date through December 31, 2015.
The main outcome of the study was mortality associated with all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Key findings of the study include:
- During up to 16.8 years of follow-up (median, 12.5 years; 68 919 person-years), 1530 deaths occurred, including 342 associated with CVD and 364 associated with cancer.
- Participants with balance disorder were at a higher risk of death from all causes, CVD, and cancer.
- After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle factors, and chronic conditions, the hazard ratios (HRs) among participants with balance disorder compared with those without balance disorder were 1.44 for all-cause mortality, 1.65 for CVD mortality, and 1.37 for cancer mortality.
- Vestibular balance disorder was associated with increased mortality from all causes (HR, 1.31), CVD (HR, 1.59), and cancer (HR, 1.39).
"Our findings showed that balance disorder is associated with an increased risk of all-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality," wrote the authors.
"Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and evaluate whether the observed associations represent a causal biological phenomenon and, if so, whether the effect is modifiable with a multicomponent exercise program."
The study titled, "Association of Balance Function With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality Among US Adults," is published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.