Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Do seasonal changes affect Meniere’s disease?

We are now in the middle of summer here in Atlanta. As usual it is very hot and humid and it rains about once a month. I have lived here for 26 years and the heat still bothers me. Not as much as it use to, but it still does.

But does it affect my Meniere’s disease?

I have had Meniere’s disease for over five years now. I have had numerous ambulance rides to the emergency room from work and from the side of the road brought on my condition. As I look back I don’t know that the summer is when I have had the most attacks or the worse attacks. It could be though because the heat certainly has an adverse effect on me, especially when I am getting sick. The first attack that I had at work was when I was inside an office where there was little circulation and the air either worked way too good or not at all. And when I am in the middle of the attack, I really start to burn up. Sweat pours off me and my temperature skyrockets. But even though it was summer at the time I was inside which is where most of my attacks are occurred. So I just I am not sure about seasonal changes affecting MM.

I have also read that some people who have this condition find it to be worse in the fall and the spring because of allergies. Since there is a lot of speculation as to what brings on the attacks, you can’t rule out allergies as a factor.

I would love to hear other opinions of this subject so feel free to comment.
Thanks

34 comments:

  1. After your temperature shoots up, do you sometimes get really cold? I find this sometimes happens to me as an attack subsides. It doesn't matter what the surrounding temperature is. In fact it happened to me last week on a very warm night at the end of out mini-heatwave, here in the UK. I was shivering in bed with blankets over me!

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  2. Jeff,
    Sometimes I get the chills after the attack and high temperature ends

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  3. Regarding sweats and chills (in that order), I too have experienced them. It has been explained to me, these symptoms are reactions in our body chemistry which in layman's terms is 'shock'. THE SYMPTOMS AND IMPACT OF A VERTIGO ATTACK ACTUALLY SENDS A MESSAGE TO OUR BRAIN THAT WE ARE IN PAIN. It is really no different than if we were seriously injured. BECAUSE WE DON'T FEEL IT, we do not recognize or describe it as pain. (Hope this makes sense to you.)

    This is such a 'perplexing' disorder and as so many things can trigger symptoms, it is a 'personal process of elimination' to determine what is triggering yours.

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  4. I agree with you that the body definitely sends out signals that something is wrong and you should aware of it when the sweats and chills come.
    thanks for commenting

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  5. I've had meniere since i was a small child, and i am 28 now. I have suspected a correlation between temperature (air pressure) and my attacks. I have often wondered if i should keep a record of my attacks and the atmospheric conditions at the time, but have never gotten around to it.

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  6. I know how terrible it can be to have meniere's as an adult but to have it when you are a child, really must have been beyond belief!
    It might be interesting to see if there is a pattern in your attacks and the weather. If you ever do keep a record I would love to see the results.
    Keep in touch and let me know if there is anything I can help you with.
    David

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  7. Just found your blog. I only got my diagnosis recently and I'm wondering if the air pressure affects it as whenever it is rainy or stormy here I find I get very dizzy and my ears feel like they need to pop.

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  8. Lex,
    The bad weather does seem to have an effect on me as well as other with meniere's. Riding in an airplane is bad especially when it is taking off.
    thanks for commenting and stay in touch
    David

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  9. I have had MD for about 10 years. For the first 8 attacks were only about one per year on average. Then about 2 years ago the attacks became almost daily. A doctor put me on a diuretic and it helped a lot. I take it daily. But this fall my MD (stuffy ears and dizziness) came back despite the medication. My nose gets sniffly in the cold weather and I am trying to figure out whether that exacerbates the MD.

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  10. It has been rainy here in Atlanta the past few days and my MD has been acting up. I think the weather has something to do with it.

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  11. l too have had this disease since child hood but since moving to alberta canada my drop attacks are much more severe. When l lived in ontario canada my attacks would come maybe every 6 months if not longer. Ontario is very humid and Alberta is extremely dry and the temp never stays the same, it can be high of 26 and drop 10 degrees in a couple of hours. This causes alot of pressure on my head and ears. So yes l feel that weather can cause drop attacks. When l go home to ontario for a visit l am very ill for a week but then slowly come out of it and start feeling less presure and less dizziness.

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  12. I can imagine that much flucuation in the temperatures would play havoc with your ears!
    thanks for the comment and stay in touch
    David

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  13. I've been diagnosed with md for 5 years now and have been on meds and had 2 gentamycin injections through my ear drum. Since for the past 3 years nov and dec have been the time for my most severe and regular attacks. Have been attack free since jan until 2 days ago. Here we go again...
    Natalie, UK

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  14. Hi Natalie,
    I hate that your meniere's is coming back after such a long time of being attack free. the cold air must have something to do with it.
    thanks for the comment
    David

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  15. I have had MD for approx 8 years now, my first attack came in July and then nothing for 1 year but then I had another attack lasting for 2-3 days. The first few attacks were not diagnosed then finally I was sent to a specialist and was told I had MD. The past 3 years I have had consistent ear problems and spurts of the vertigo being bed bound. I went on a sodium free diet and had no attacks for 1 year, i was told the salt and sodium was part of the problem. Recently I was told I could do a 1000mg a day sodium diet and that should be okay, However my attacks came back but also the weather changed. I seem to have ear trouble and vertigo when it gets cold. I am not for sure but I am now starting a journal and am trying to network with others to learn more about the disease. Have any of you tried the diet plan ?

    Debbie

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  16. Debbie~
    I changed my diet drastically..most of the time I think it has helped.
    I cut out sugar, processed foods, diet products, carbs, and use almost no additional salt. I mostly use onions and herbs for flavoring.
    I eat primarily lean meats, fish, fresh veggies and fruits...& eggs now and then.
    I dropped or added one thing at a time, till I felt I was eating what LEAST set off the Menieres.
    I miss the junk food..it took will power for sure..but I hate the vertigo more!
    I increased my daily water intake too, and I do take a diuretic daily.
    Test till you find what works best for you.
    Good Luck!
    Lauri

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  17. Hello I am 41 and was diagnosed with MD 3 years ago. Am now on a 1400mg sodium a day diet, no caffeine, limit my chocolate considerably, and drink a margarita every once in a great while. I find that in the Fall and Spring the allergy season affects my ears. My general practitioner say's that my eustachian tubes swell which is why I feel the dizziness and doesn't allow any of my fluid to drain from my ears. My ears feel full and I feel dizzy, so she usually will put me on a "Dosepak" called "Medrol" it is a low steroid and it helps. But I am a firm believer that seasonal allergies play a huge part in MD. I live in the Midwest Kansas/Missouri region and the humidity here is awful and the allergies are brutal. I take a Rx diuretic prescribed by my Otolaryngologist and I highly recommend it. All the best for all of us MD sufferer's.

    Michele

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    1. Hi Michele, I live in Mid Missouri. 43 with bilateral MD, going on 17 yrs. Spring is the worst time for me and I agree...the humidity and allergies are pretty bad. I'm on allergy drops now, doubt that they will help, but worth a try. I WANT TO MOVE to the top of a mountain or something. I live on steroids. That is the only way I can function. Starting the intratympanic steroids soon just to see if I can get off the oral for a bit. After so many years, the diuretics just aren't doing the job anymore.

      Warm regards,

      Margie

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  18. Hi,My name is Pereira and I Have had MD for the last 8 years, and I would like to know if an operation would be the best thing to help me. Did anybody had it? And what is the results? My Doctor do not think much of it. Please help.

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    1. Hello, Periera,

      There are a lot of factors to consider in deciding whether to have surgery or not, and if your doctor is opposed, you are probably not going to get anywhere with it for now.

      You might want to consider seeking a second opinion from another doctor, to see what someone else recommends.

      What treatment are you getting now, and what are your symptoms like? I have to say I would not jump straight to surgery without trying other, less invasive remedies to control the symptoms.

      And as David said, there are a lot of different surgeries, some of which are harder on the body than others. The results of surgery are not the same for every patient, too, so there's no guarantee that an operation will be a quick and total solution. Sorry.

      Hope you find your answer.

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  19. Hi Pereira,
    There are many surgeries out there for menieres, some folks have found them helpful others not so much
    David

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  20. Hi Pereira
    As Peggy suggested maybe get another opinion regarding surgery and having your medication adjusted can make a big difference ...
    It depends if you still have hearing in your affected ear.. then more conservative surgery such as decompression of a sac could be considered ..it is not the same for everybody but with medication after this surgery I had no major attacks for around 20 years (only mild spins lasting a few seconds at a time, usually when I turned over in bed)
    However eventually the major attacks returned but by then my hearing had gone in my right ear and I had a labinthectomy ..again this isnt the same for everyone but I had it 13 years ago and Im totally free of attacks and not on any medication for menieres..

    I know we can never say never with menieres but as I have had this condition since I was 19 for me (after initially having medication that eventually stopped working) surgery was the answer.

    The original question ..I never noticed any difference in the worse attacks whatever time of year but when the heating is on I do get more headaches and stuffy sinuses.

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  21. Hi. I am 39 yrs old and I have had MD for approx 5-7 years now. I have tried just about everything. Ive taken the metro dose pack, gone to therapy (which by the way fidnt work) and the only thing that helps me right now is my meclizine. It doesnt take the dizziness away but it sure helps me to at least function a bit. I find that alot of people just dont understand this and they just brush it off and tell me you need to do something about this, oh ypu will be fine or heres a good one, are you drunk?! Any suggestions? Im tired of feeling like this. In some ways this disease is debilitating. You cant drive, you cant do anything but just lay in bed and steer at focal point on the wall.

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  22. I know how you are feeling. alot of folks just don't understand what you are going through mostly because they haven't heard about meniere's disease and then when you tell them about it, they still don't get! Very frustrating.
    You might also want to find a doctor ENT who specializes in meniere's disease, one who will be able to present all the options that are out there to fight this disorder.
    thanks for commenting
    and stay in touch
    David

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  23. Indeed, I think we all know the feeling of people not understanding you. Family and friends are very understanding, although with some friends it took some time for them to get the fact that i'm not able to do certain things when I have a bad day or week or just a bad period. Because when I feel well, I always love to join them and then they are like, "ok so why could you do it then, and not now?"

    So yeah, they will never fully understand I suppose, but they'll get it to some point. The "good" thing is that my father has tinnitus so he understands the hearing problem and my mom understands the dizzyness and all. Also some of my friends know other people that have it, but still, it's not an easy life.

    I agree with David, find a good ENT and have a good talk and try different things. I'm pretty sure there is something out there for everyone to help you get your life back, be it medication or surgery or diet, or something else.

    I wish you the best of luck.

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  24. I am living in Jerusalem where the heat is over 100F each day. Used to live in Vancouver, BC. Since being in this intense dry heat my symptoms of dizzyness, full ear and pain in left ear seem worse. Can't even go out in the day time heat without setting of symptoms. Has anyone had a problem with extreme heat and symptoms? I've been diagnosed with this for approx. 2 yrs. Thanks, Leslie

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  25. I'm living in Jerusalem used to live in Vancouver, BC. Since the heat shot up a few weeks ago to over 100F each day with very dry conditions, my symptoms of dizzyness, ear pain and full ears have gotten worse. Was diagnosed 2 year ago approx. Was in Vancouver in Feb, March, April and had no symptoms. Now I'm struggling every day even to get to work. Has anyone else had problems and symptoms in extreme heat?? Thanks, Leslie

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  26. Leslie, what is the air quality there when the heat is that high? In NJ, it's been very hot lately, and it's making ozone levels go through the roof, which makes it more difficult to breathe.

    But I think heat is hard on the body in general, so I would be surprised if it DIDN'T make Meniere's sufferers feel worse. I feel terrible when I'm out in this heat. Definitely more wobbly and dizzy.

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  27. hello leslie
    i once went to Tenerife, my sinuses totally cleared up and i felt beautiful. its a group of islands just off africa with alot of fresh air and sea air.
    when i go on holiday to the mediterranean, i dont get the same feeling. i think enviromental factors have a huge part to play with menieres, especially if you have sinus problems which aggrivate the menieres.
    regards
    ali

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  28. I have had MD for 7 years. the first 2 were very bad. i had to eliminate sodium, alcohol and caffeine completely. People do not want to understand why I wase eating so strangely and refusing alcohol. I thought I had a brain tumor before I was diagnosed. I was an athlete and that has been an advantage. Working out helps quite a bit. I was on maxide for a year strait. I use it only when I am on the verge of an attack.

    I am writing today because i am on the verge of an attack. This is at least in part my fault since I have been using some caffeine (one weak cup of coffee in the morning) and have been consuming 2 cocktails on Friday nights with my wife. Incidentally either one of these would have me on the floor vomiting in the first two years.

    Three years ago I was diagnosed as hypogonadal. this is fairly common in men over 40. I began testosterone treatment and the MD was greatly lessened. From time to time I have to go off the TRT and the MD becomes more severe. So many things seem to interact with the disease. That steroids seem ti interact in a positive way with the disease suggests to me that there is an immune component since glucocorticoids and androgens are anti-inflammatory. Certainly hormonal balance is important in many health areas. I am off my testosterone now and now experiencing MD uglies again.

    In a way MD has been a blessing and a curse. the curse part everyone here is familiar with. The blessing part is that it encourages me to maintain a healthy low sodium diet and exercise regularly. All the men on my father's side die young from obesity, diabetes, hypertention and heart disease. It is virtually impossible to have their type of unhealthy life style with this disease. I am now in my 50s but look in my 40s from this style of living. I am fit and also productive on most days. Md reminds me when I am too lax and I immediately fix the lax part. Sometimes I have to take a day off, which makes me a little nuts but overall I have used MD to advantage as best I can. Certainly I would be more productive without it since I would work more hours but ironically I will probably live longer with MD since it forces me toward a healthier life style. So, in the end my life time productivity may be higher... and the quality of life?? well I like going to the gym or the dojo and I like the healthier feeling without eating junk. There is a trade off but overall I can view it as a positive.

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  29. Ion_man, I agree completely. I also have thought for some time that there is a hormonal component to MD, and an immune system component, too. All the anecdotal evidence points this way, in my opinion.

    And what you say about MD being a blessing as well as a curse is right. My symptoms drove me to various types of doctors and tests this year, and I have radically altered my approach to buying, cooking, and eating food. I'm also exercising much, much more, and the benefits of that are incalculable. I feel stronger and more stable, and I am losing weight at a nice, steady pace. I can only benefit from all this, despite the havoc MD has wrought in my life.

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  30. I am in the process of all of the test for menieres I have been off work since the first of July. My work place don't want me back til I quit having the vertigo spells with which u all know u don't know when one is going to hit. I find myself having spells when it its very warm. Starting to think I may never return to my job an wonder if anyone will hire me with this condition. Wish u all the best of luck. An I know how u all feel with the spinning sweating so bad u look like someone poured a bucket of water over u an wanting to sleep for a few days getting sick an switching from hot to cold blankets on or off

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    1. Anonymous Poster from 8/3-
      I know exactly what you're going through as far as work goes. I run a paper converting machine, and the only other option available to me is to drive a lift truck. My employer won't even take me back on light duty for fear I'll have an attack and hurt myself anywhere, whether in an office environment or on the operating floor, while the Drs. I have seen don't understand a manufacturing environment, especially large machinery and all the pressure placed on the machine operator to produce, i.e. if you have 3 hours to do preventative maintenance, they want it done in 2 hrs., and they can't honor my Dr. restriction of "when an attack occurs, will need to take a break, and possibly be transported home to ride out the attack". The Doctors think you just push a button and stand back and watch it run, which at my workplace isn't the case at all.

      I have done much research on disability, MD, and other employment opportunities, and there is work that can be done. I have spoken to 2 people, one a nurse, the other is actually the case manager for my long term disability carrier, both of whom have MD. It is possible to get work in other fields, you just need to be retrained to do this work. I do know, however, MD can be debilitating enough to where you end up on permanent disability. I have had it since early March, and have gone through testing, steroid injections through the ear drum, and now Vestibular Therapy, yet I still have some dizzy spells now and then. The therapist I'm currently working with is fairly certain I may not have MD, the Neurotologist doesn't believe I have it at all, yet my EN&T Dr believes I do-so we eliminate all other possibilities since there is no definitive test (other than after you die) that can say yes, you have MD.
      Anyway, keep your head up, everyone on this blog has been through what you're going through to some degree or another, and we're all together in this and all supportive of each other.
      -Don

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  31. Sometimes I'm actually grateful that I was already unemployed when Meniere's started hitting me really hard three years ago. I don't think I could have driven to the office (half an hour each way) with the attacks I was having, and my last boss was a bit of a bastard. He could be very understanding at times, but he was incredibly demanding and scathing with his criticisms. He also loathed the idea of anyone working from home. Makes my blood run cold just thinking about it.

    Meniere's is so difficult to explain to friends and family, unless they have experienced it themselves. I can't even imagine trying to get it across to a supervisor at work. Don, I completely understand your dilemma. It isn't easy trying to lead a normal, productive life around Meniere's, or any vestibular problem. But I'm glad at least that you are having fewer attacks.

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