Caregivers in Ballantyne, NC – The One-Leg Balance Test May Indicate Your Elderly Loved One Needs to See the Doctor
Cognitive function tends to decline as we age, so it’s not uncommon for family caregivers to worry about their loved one developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other memory issues. Fortunately, testing one’s brain health doesn’t require an expensive battery of tests, CAT scans, MRIs or blood work. You don’t need any expensive equipment and you can do this quick and easy test at home. All in home providers need to do is have their loved one stand on one leg.
The results of this one-leg balance test was discussed in Stroke, a journal published by the American Heart Association. There were 1,400 participants, both male and female, with an average age of 67 years old. They were all asked to keep their eyes open while standing on one leg for no longer than one minute. The participants then underwent an MRI to determine if any damage to blood vessels was present.
So how long should you be able to stand on one leg? Shoot for 20 seconds. The research showed that those who struggled with meeting the 20-second goal were more likely to have tiny strokes – called microbleeds – in the brain. A stroke is the result of a blood clot or internal bleeding. These microbleeds put seniors at a higher risk of developing more serious strokes and even cognitive issues. The study found that more than one-third of the participants who had at least two microbleeds had difficulty with the balance test. In addition, those who had poor balance did not fare so well on memory tests.
This test was created by Japanese researchers who wanted to develop an easy way to test brain health. While this test may seem way too simplified for some people, it appears to be a strong indicator of overall cognitive health. Plus, it’s a free way to check brain health without having to pay for expensive tests. Many seniors may have suffered mini strokes and not even realize it. They may not experience any other symptoms, but by testing their balance, they can get an idea of how healthy their brain is.
Those who failed the balance test may want to discuss this with their doctor as early as possible. A brain or memory condition may be possible and it’s important for seniors and their doctors to come up with a plan before any cognitive issues become too overwhelming to handle.