Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fatigue and Meniere's disease

I know that right after a major attack of Meniere’s disease I am exhausted. The major attacks usually last about 4 hours from beginning to end. Probably the main thing that causes fatigue is the nausea that occurs. During an attack I am probably nauseated the majority of the time, throwing up everything that is on my stomach at the time. After all that I am very dehydrated.

Since most of my big attacks end up in a ride to the emergency room an IV is given to me. But even that only helps a little.

I also sweat profusely when an attack occurs especially when it is a bad attack. This is probably another reason that I’m exhausted.

But it also seems that since I have had Meniere’s disease my energy level is also lower. I do have sleep apnea which certainly has an effect on my energy but the MD also affects it.

Of course the last contributing factor to my fatigue is the medicine I take for MD. Antivert and valium (low dosage) both tire me out as well.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meniere's Disease and hearing loss

It is very common for patients who have Meniere’s disease to have reduced hearing or lack of hearing. A hearing test is usually administered to patients who might have MD. Hearing loss or reduction is found for the most part in one ear. In my own case my hearing has been greatly reduced in my left ear. So it was determined that was the ear that had the Meniere’s disease. Over time about 50 % of MD patients will have the meniere’s in both ears.

How great the loss or the complete loss of hearing will be a determining factor in how to treat the MD. If the basic treatment of lowering your salt intake and taking a diuretic every day doesn’t help and if you can’t afford the Meniett device, evasive treatments may be your only options. Unfortunately some of these options come at a risk of hearing loss.

Gentamicin injections in the middle ear are generally a good option with very little risk to your hearing. I had this procedure and my hearing wasn’t affected at all.

Labyrinthectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed when there is no hearing left in the ear. This surgery removes most of the bony inner ear. This is one of the last resort surgeries for Meniere’s disease.

Endolymphatic sac decompression relieves pressure on the Endolymphatic sac by removing a small section of bone around it. There is a low risk of hearing loss.

Vestibular neurectomy eliminates the balance signal from the ear to the brain. A nerve is cut in the inner ear forcing the brain to regulate balance from only one ear. There is a high risk of hearing loss.

Make sure to carefully go over all your options with your doctor when considering surgery.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Meniett Device for Meniere's disease

A meniett device is a device that fits in the ear that sends pressure pulses to the inner ear. A small tube has to be surgically implanted in the ear before the meniett device will work. The pressure that the device provides will force excess endolymph from the endolymphic sac. Excess endolymph is considered to be a cause of Meniere’s disease.

The device is made by Medtronic. It is small and can easily be handled. The pulses that the device generated are computer timed. The patient will typically use the meniett 3 times a day for 3 to 5 minutes.

The FDA cleared the Meniett for use in 1999. Tests have shown the effectiveness in providing relief for some Meniere’s patients and those who suffer with tinnitus.

The Meniett has to be prescribed by a doctor. Insurance coverage is up to the provider. My insurance company wouldn’t pay for the device. Maybe with more studies it will be included.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Meniere’s disease and Bioflavonoids

One of the many natural remedies for MD is Bioflavonoids (also know as flavonoids.)

Bioflavonoids are plant compounds that have antioxidant powers. One of the primary benefits of this antioxidant is the protection of vitamin c from oxidation. They can be found in the rinds of citrus plants and other plants containing vitamin c. They can also be found in broccoli, whole grains and eggplants. Tea has been found to contain Bioflavonoids.

Bioflavonoids is considered to be beneficial to numerous ailments such cancer, arthritis, stomach pains and heart disease. Of course not everyone agrees with that but even doubters don’t completely dismiss the power of Bioflavonoids.

As far as the benefits of Bioflavonoids regarding Meniere’s disease it is controversial as well. Bioflavonoids are supposed to widen blood capillaries and arteries thus allowing better blood flow. They also help reduce the fluid accumulation (Hydrops) in the endolymphatic sac.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Hydrops regimen and Meniere’s disease

As many people who have MD know salt is supposed to be reduced greatly in their diet. It has been recommended by some that your sodium intake is to be limited to 1000 mg a day. Considering all the salt in prepackaged food, including canned food and the food that they serve at restaurants it can be very difficult to keep it at that level. It might be more realistic at 2000 mg a day.

But why is salt such a culprit? There is endolymphatic fluid in the inner ear that has a specific amount of sodium, potassium, and chloride. This balance of these fluids keeps the inner ear functioning as the central balance system of the body. Any interruption of that balance causes the symptoms of Hydrops which is pressure in the ears. It may also cause tinnitus, hearing loss, and dizziness.

Salt in a diet helps to retain water. So naturally the reduction of salt and possibly a diuretic can help lower the amount of fluid in the inner ear. A low salt diet is referred to has a hydrops diet regimen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Antivert and Meniere's Disease

A common medicine for meniere’s patients is antivert ( meclizine ) Antivert is a antihistamine that controls the amount of histamine in the body. It is also a vestiblular sedative. It is also used to treat motion sickness and nausea.
A quick information list about antivert...

· it makes you sleepy
· other side effects might be dry mouth, headaches or blurred vision
· Don’t take it with alcohol it will make you even sleeper
· It is similar to Dramamine
· They don’t prevent attacks

I have taken antivert for years and I believe that it does help. Of course when an attack occurs it is a little too late to take one. I usually take one antivert in the morning each day along with my other medications. If I feel that an attack is imminent during the day I’ll take another one. But two is the limit for me. They make me very drowsy.
I have also read that the effectiveness wears off if you take too many of them. That hasn’t been the case with me.
Check with your doctor to see if antivert is right for you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Meniere’s disease and the drop attack

A drop attack to someone who has Meniere’s disease is probably the most terrifying event you can think of. One minute you are fine and the next moment the world turns upside down and your legs go out from underneath you. My attacks have never been that bad but awfully close. I have always had a little warning, not much but some.

Unfortunately other MD sufferers have drop attacks while standing or walking. Needless to say these attacks can be very dangerous. Falling without warning can cause head injuries or broken bones.

Drop attacks can happen to others who don’t have MD. The other causes are due to cardiac disorders, seizures, and low cholesterol. The drop attack occurring to MD patients is also called “Tumarkin Otolithic Crisis.” There are two Otolithic organs in each ear and they are responsible for sensing gravity.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Meniere's disease and tinnitus

Many Meniere’s disease patients also have tinnitus. Tinnitus is where there is a constant ringing or roaring sound in the ear. The sound has also been described as a whistling or buzzing or humming noise. The noise could last for seconds, minutes or it may last forever. It is very annoying and can cause extreme emotional distress. The sound can be especially troublesome when the tinnitus sufferer is trying to hear someone speak. The tinnitus blends in with what ever sound the ear is trying to receive, making it very difficult to distinguish the tinnitus from any other sound.

There are things that the tinnitus patient can do to help ease the discomfort of tinnitus.
  • avoid loud music or lous noise
  • when receiving new medication ask you doctor how it will affect your tinnitus
  • in some cases it has been found that tobacco and alchohol make the tinnitus worse
  • controlling stress might also help with tinnitus
  • find a doctor who specializes in the treatment of tinnitus

As always educate yourself on all aspects of tinnitus and don’t give up.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Vestibular rehabilitation and Meniere’s disease

Vestibular rehabilitation is usually used with vertigo patients. The patient is evaluated with tests given by a therapist. Then a course of exercises are given to the patient who can do them at home. The purpose of these exercises is to train the balance system by repetition and that in turn will reduce the dizziness and prevent falls. The most common type of vertigo is BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) which is caused by head movements that disrupts your balance system. Vestibular rehabilitation is very effective as a cure for BPPV.

Of course Meniere’s disease has no cure. What causes the vertigo symptoms are not completely known the most common theory is the excess endolymphatic fluid in the endolymphatic sac. Of course this isn’t the only theory regarding what causes MD. Others believe that it is caused by a virus.

So why should vestibular rehabilitation be used with Meniere’s disease? Some MD patients have little or no problem with their balance between attacks but side effects from those attacks could benefit from therapy.

The side effects are visual dependency which is relying on visual input rather than vestibular information. Or neck stiffness which occurs because the MD patient slows down the speed of their head motion.

Right now I am in the middle of rehab. I think that it has helped with my balance but I know that I can still have a MD at any moment.

A terrific website with lots of information about this subject is

Thursday, March 12, 2009

alternative medicines for the treatment of Meniere's Disease

There is no scientific evidence that herbs, vitamins or supplements help lessen the attacks of MD. But that's no really surprising many believe that those things haven't been proven to help. There hasn't been any studies.

But I don't know if would completely dismiss them. I started to take a compound 3 months ago. The compound is made up of bioflavoniods, ginger root, niacin, ginko, dimenhydrinate, vitamin c. Each ingredient does something to help MD sufferers.

I haven' had any bad reactions except for the niacin flushes. Niacin when taken sometimes causes your skin to turn red and itchy like you have a bad rash. Its not harmful and it usually goes away in a few minutes.

I don't want to give the name of the compound because I don't want to sound like I'm advertising it.

If you want to find out send me an email or write a comment.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What triggers an attack of Meniere's Disease?

When you have MD you are always thinking that an attack is around the corner. And with good reason, it just might be. But is there something that brings it on. What triggers an attack of Meniere's Disease?

There are some people who believe that MD just happens out of the blue. It's due to the enlargement of endolymphatic sac (also called hydrops). When this happens the brain is receiving false information from the balance area of the ear. And according to most literature that endolymphatic sac is enlarged in part by the overuse of salt.

I have been told that visual stimuli and quick movements, especially turning your head, will not bring on attacks. I understand their reasoning but I'm not quite sure if I believe that. I know on numerous occasions I have turned my head quickly and had an attack. But I been told that folks with vertigo (BPPV) are the ones who have attack due to quick movements of the head and visual stimuli.

I've been tested for vertigo and I don't have it. So for now I can only assume that the attacks come out of the nowhere.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Betaserc for Meniere's Disease

Over the past few years I have heard quite a lot about Betaserc and how it pertains to Meniere's Disease. The first thing that should be commented on is that Betaserc is not allowed in the USA but is used extensively in Europe, Canada and other places.

But first what is betaserc? Betaserc is short for betahistine hydrochloride, a drug that is manufactured by Solvay. It is also referred to by as betahistine. The reason that is many conclude that is beneficial to MD suffers is that it increase the flow of blood by dilating the blood vessels.

Although it was legal in the United States for awhile the FDA changed the ruling on it because there was questions as to whether it was effective. There seems to be contrary to feelings about the drug considering it is one of the leading prescriptions for MD in other parts of the world. Hopefully the FDA will reconsider this drug that has the support of many doctors in the USA.

To find out about my history of Meniere's disease click here

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

meniere's disease and driving

One of the most terrifying things that could happen to a person with MD is to have an attack while driving. I've had 4 attacks while driving in the past two years.

One minute your fine, just driving along not a care in the world and then suddenly the world turns upside town. My last episode with an attack while driving occurred about 2 miles from work. I made a turn and started down a hill. halfway down the hill I felt my head suddenly get heavy. I panicked. This made the situation much worse. Luckily I was at an intersection where I could turn off the road (very slowly) in to a shopping center.

From there I sat and called work then I called 911. It took awhile for them to get there because I happened to turn into the back of the shopping center close to the store's loading dock. The 911 operator assured me that they were coming. I could hear the siren getting closer. Unfortunately the ambulance had to circle the building several times before they found me.

Since then I am very careful about driving even if I don't feel like an attack is going to happen. I make sure that I have my cell phone on and I make sure that I carry water and my medication where ever I go.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The effects of Meniere's Disease on work

I remember the first attack that I had at work. I was on the computer checking my email when I started to feel a little woozy. I looked away from the computer screen and the spinning started immediately almost knocking me off my chair. I didn't know if it was meniere's or maybe it was a heart attack. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. That was a mistake because I became nauseous and started to gag. I opened my eyes and the room was spinning so quickly that my vision was blurred. I didn't know what to do! Without looking at the phone in front of me I picked up the receiver and attempted to call one of my co-workers. After the fourth attempt I was able to get hold of someone. I told him that I needed help fast.

He called his boss and they came to my room where they found me on the floor throwing up. I told them that I didn't think that it was a heart attack but I wasn't sure. They called 911 and then they called my wife who became panic stricken. I felt awful about worrying her but she had to know.

The ambulance came and started an IV and wheeled me through the hallway. By this time there was a crowd around my office wondering what had happened. The medicine that they gave me eased me off enough to stop the nausea but my head was still spinning.

my wife made it to the emergency room with my son who was 3 at the time. He was very scared seeing me so sick with an IV sticking in my arm. My wife didn't want to take him but she had no choice since she didn't have time to call for any help.

I wish I could say that was my last experience with getting an attack at work but it wasn't. Over the course of the next 4 years I had 4 more ambulance rides to the emergency room.

Luckily the people I work with have been very caring with me and very helpful. The effects of Meniere's Disease on work can be very devastating.