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What is Meniere’s Disease?

woman suffering from meniere’s

Meniere disease is a condition that affects the inner ear and is very rare. Most common symptoms include hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo and a sensation of extreme pressure deep within the ear itself. Usually, people experience flare-ups, where these symptoms suddenly appear for a few hours, before they disappear again. Every patient is different, however, and the way the symptoms are experienced are very different on a case by case basis.

The Progression of Meniere’s Disease
Usually, the disease goes through a number of stages. Firstly, people tend to experience sudden attacks of vertigo that seem to have no cause. This leads them to be dizzy and nauseous, sometimes to the point of vomiting. As the disease progresses, vertigo becomes less common, with some people noticing it is absent for as much as 10 years. However, they tend to have progressively worse hearing loss and tinnitus and it can also cause permanent problems with balance.

Who Can Get Meniere’s Disease?
The disease is incredibly rare, with only very few people having received a diagnoses. Generally, it is diagnosed between the age of 20 and 60. It is also more common in women than what it is in men.

Causes of Meniere’s Disease
It isn’t clear what actually causes the condition. However, it is generally believed to be linked to issues with pressure within the ear itself. There are a number of things that can increase the chances of developing the illness, including a chemical imbalance in the inner ear fluid. Additionally, it is believed to be hereditary.

Meniere’s Disease Treatment
There is no cure for the illness, but treatment is available to help control the progression of the disease. Some of the treatments include:
• Medication, mainly to prevent further attacks from occurring and to alleviate some of the Meniere’s symptoms.
• Changing the diet, particularly moving on to a low-salt diet.
• Vestibular rehabilitation, which trains balance.
• Various relaxation techniques including meditation.
• Surgery, although this is a last resort option.

Surgery is very rare, but there are actually different procedures that can be offered. However, as it is a last resort option, symptoms must be incredibly severe. The type of treatment often depends on whether both ears or just one ear is affected by the disease. Unfortunately, it is also not know whether the surgery is actually effective.

People who have Meniere illness often feel socially isolated and regularly suffer from depression. Hence, it is very important that they seek not just medical attention, but also support in term of dealing with the condition. There are a number of support groups available, many of which are online. Additionally, many groups exist to support people with hearing issues and attending these could be very beneficial.

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