Meniere’s disease is an inner-ear illness that can lead to vertigo, a certain type of dizziness where you feel as though you are spinning.
Additionally, it can lead to ringing in your ear (tinnitus), hearing loss that comes and goes, and a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear.
Usually, only 1 ear is affected. The hearing loss eventually can be permanent.
The disorder takes its title from a French physician, Prosper Meniere, who suggested in the 1860s the symptoms came from the inner ear and not the brain, as most people considered.
Meniere’s Disease Causes:
The cause of Meniere’s disease is not known, but doctors believe they understand how the symptoms of Meniere’s happen.
Fluid builds up within part of the inner ear called the labyrinth, which retains structures that help with hearing and balance.
The additional fluid interferes with the signals that your mind receives, causing vertigo and hearing issues.
Why folks get Meniere’s is not clear.
Researchers have several theories about what may affect the fluid in the inner ear, though:
Poor drainage (because of blockage or an abnormal arrangement in your ear)
Autoimmune response (when your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells)
Blow to the head
Meniere’s is a progressive disease, which means it becomes worse over time.
It could start slowly with intermittent hearing loss. Vertigo may develop later.
If you’re dizzy, sit or lie down straight away. Don’t do any type of motion that might create your vertigo worse. Don’t try to push.
Along with the main symptoms, some people may have:
Cold sweat and quick pulse
Attacks can last 20 minutes or as long as 24 hours. You might get several in a week, or else they may come weeks or even years apart. Afterward, you might feel exhausted and want to rest.
As your Meniere’s progresses, your symptoms may vary. Your hearing loss and tinnitus may become continuous.
You may have problems with vision and balance instead of getting occasional bouts of vertigo.
If you believe you might have Meniere’s disease, call your physician. Don’t assume it will get better on its own.
Meniere’s Disease Diagnosis:
You and your doctor will chat about your symptoms and medical history. A collection of diagnostic tests may assess your balance and hearing.
These may include:
Audiometric exam -This will find hearing loss in the affected ear.
It may have a test to gauge your ability to tell the difference between words such as”fit” and”sit.
Electronystagmogram – This evaluates your balance.
You will be set in a darkened room and have your eye movements measured as warm and cool air blows through your ear canal.
Electrocochleography – This measures fluid pressure in your inner ear.
Rotary chair testing – This lets your doctor see how eye movement affects your inner ear. You sit at a spinning seat that is controlled by a computer.
Vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (VEMP) -This measures your response to sudden, loud noises. This tests your equilibrium and how well you can keep it.
You stand barefoot on a stage that could move in many directions. You put on a harness that lets your doctor see how you respond when the stage moves in certain ways.
Video head impulse test (VHIT) -This uses video images to see how well you’re able to concentrate and how your eyes respond to sudden movement.
Auditory brainstem response test (ABR) -With this evaluation, you wear headphones, and also a computer measures your brain waves as you react to different sounds.
It’s usually only used for those who can not have other kinds of hearing tests (such as babies) or who can not have imaging tests.
Added imaging tests – Your physician also might recommend an MRI or CT scan to rule out the possibility that something other than Meniere’s is causing your symptoms.
A hearing aid may help, and some treatments can facilitate both your vertigo along the fluid buildup on your ear.
Medicine for motion sickness might help with your vertigo, and medicine for nausea may aid with vomiting if that has a complication of your nausea.
Other drug treatments include:
To reduce fluid in your ear, then your doctor may prescribe a diuretic — medication that keeps your body from maintaining fluids.
Should you take a diuretic, your doctor probably also will ask you to cut the quantity of salt in your diet.
If your doctor thinks you have an underlying immune system problem, you may also take a short course of steroids.
In addition to medication, you may try treatment targeted to aid with balance issues.
Physical therapy – A physical therapist may give you a series of exercises that, when done routinely, can aid with nausea, imbalance, and other issues.
Staying active and getting exercise, such as walking, can help, too, especially after you finish PT.
Vestibular rehabilitation treatment – VRT is a workout program that retrains your brain to use different senses, such as your vision, to assist with your equilibrium.
Positive pressure therapy (Meniett device) – This strategy employs a device to use pressure to your own ear canal by means of a tube. This enhances how fluid moves through your ear.
You are able to do these treatments at home.
These move directly into your ear and might facilitate your vertigo.
Your doctors might choose an antibiotic called gentamicin (Garamycin, Gentak), which can be poisonous to your inner ear.
It lessens the function of the ear so that your”great” ear takes over your balance.
This procedure is done in a physician’s office, where you’ll receive something to numb the pain before the injection. Or your physician may choose to inject a steroid.
Some patients will not respond to any of these treatments and will need surgery. Those procedures include:
Endolymphatic sac shunt surgery -The part of your ear that’s responsible for reabsorbing fluid is drained and opened.
You’ll be granted anesthesia so you will not be awake or feel pain during the surgery. You will probably spend the night in the hospital.
Vestibular nerve sectioning – A neurosurgeon does this process, and you will need a longer hospital stay up to 5 times.
The surgeon will ruin the nerve that transmits signals about balance to the brain to prevent the messages that are causing your vertigo.
Cochleosacculotomy -This is just another procedure aimed at draining fluid. You are given something to numb any pain, and it takes about 30 minutes.
It can result in hearing loss, however. Your surgeon destroys the parts of the ear that control equilibrium.
You are not awake during this procedure, and you remain in the clinic for a few days.
You’ll have hearing loss then, so it is for those that have really poor vertigo and don’t hear well.
It’s not clear you can do anything to stop Meniere’s disease, but you can do a few things to help manage your symptoms.
If you’re having an attack of vertigo:
Attempt to sit down and remain.
Do not make abrupt moves, and avoid bright light, loud sound, and other triggers. Watching TV or even reading also can be detrimental.
In addition to ingesting a low-salt diet, then you may want to decrease alcohol and caffeine.
Some people today think such diet changes lessen the impacts of the disease.
Tobacco use also can be harmful, as cigarettes have chemicals in them that restrict blood vessels.
If this happens in your mind, it can lead to hearing loss. Studies indicate that smokers are much more likely to have hearing loss than nonsmokers.
Vertigo attacks can be triggered by different things in different men and women.
Try to write down as many things as you can consider the episode.
Triggers could include:
Sharp changes in weather, especially air pressure
Ask your friends and loved ones for support.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…
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