Meniere’s disease is an illness experienced by 615,000 people in the United States. Named after the doctor who found it in 1861, Dr. Prosper Meniere, it’s a sickness comprised of three symptoms: vertigo, fullness within the ears, and tinnitus. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIDCD), there are about 45,000 new cases of this annually.
The symptoms are the by-products of fluids filling up in the inner ear, specifically the labyrinth. This is where elements of the ear that regulates balance throughout the body, thus the dizziness. Vertigo attacks can span from two to four hours.
Although we know what initiates the symptoms, we don’t know what causes these abnormalities in the ear. There are theories present, yet nothing is sure enough to conclude as to why a person gets Meniere’s disease.
One possibility is the constriction of blood vessels, another is that it’s the effect of infections or allergies.
This may be a disease that dates back to the 1800’s but our technology has yet to solve this puzzle. Future advancements are still needed for us to fully grasp the nature of this condition.
While there isn’t really a treatment to rid you of this permanently, there are options for alleviating you of its effects and allow you to live life more comfortably with it.
- Decreased Sodium Intake
Because salt retains water, it’s advised you consume as little of it as possible to decrease fluid development in the ear.
There are medications available in the market now to ease the dizziness you feel, and lessen the span of time of these attacks.
An antibiotic called gentamicin can be introduced into the middle ear through injection. This however may increase your chances of developing a hearing impairment as it could possibly kill the hair cells that are essential to perceiving sound.
- Diet and Restrictions
Though you may already be reducing your food intakes, there are still other food and drinks out there that are reported to worsen this condition. Examples are chocolate and alcohol.
- Smoking also is said to be one culprit that contributes to this disease. Another reason to stop smoking.
Therapy, or cognitive therapy to be exact, will give you the psychological mindset to help you endure the complications that come with Meniere’s disease. It reduces anxiety and gives you the strength and willpower to live your life happily even with this illness.
A recently approved device allows for a procedure called “pressure pulse treatment.” It administers air pressure towards the middle ear which in return reduces the effects of vertigo.
Surgery is another option that allows the specialist to directly modify physical components of your ear to weaken the symptoms of Meniere’s disease. There are different types of surgery available to address this condition so consult with an expert to know what best suits you.
If you have these symptoms, please consult with an otolaryngologist, or better known as an ENT, for diagnosis and advice on treatment. Remember that proactiveness is key to living a healthy life so also have routine visits to a specialist for check-up even if there is no indicator present that shows you are undergoing a certain sickness.