Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Skeptics and Meniere's Disease

Before I had my first attack of Meniere’s disease I had never heard of this condition. As far as vertigo was concerned, I wasn’t exactly sure about that either. Was it a fear of heights, like the Hitchcock movie? After years of attacks and years searching the internet and seeing doctors I know a lot about both. Unfortunately not that many people are aware of this illness or vertigo.

First of all vertigo isn’t about fear of heights, it is a spinning sensation that is created by loose particles in the inner ear. Meniere’s disease isn’t really a disease it is an idiopathic, which means ‘cause unknown’. There isn’t a cure and there is quite a few opinions out there on what helps alleviates the side effects and what doesn’t. Meniere’s can have many forms. You may have the severe form where it is difficult to get up and walk and your hearing is almost gone. Or you may have tinnitus and vertigo with no hearing loss. Some, who have it, keep it in check by reducing their salt intake. Meniere’s can be different from one case to the other.

One of the problems that you might have is that many people haven’t heard about Meniere’s disease and therefore assume it is a minor illness or just an inconvenience. Unless they see you throwing up or see you pale as a ghost and sweating profusely, they just might not think much about it. And the same is true for tinnitus.

There are some people who just don’t get it and probably will never understand Meniere’s disease. Don’t worry about them; just stay focused on getting better.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Headaches and Meniere’s disease

I have written before about migraines and how it pertains to Meniere’s disease. I don’t think that I have ever had a migraine but recently with this new flair up of the disease, I find that my head is hurting all the time.

About a week or two ago I went to the doctor and he put me back on blood pressure medicine. In the past I could always tell when my blood pressure was high because I got these terrible headaches that were like nails being driven into the top of my head. After I started to take the bp medicine those types of headaches went away.

While now even after taking the blood pressure medicine for 2 weeks I am still getting bad headaches and I don’t know why. It isn’t my blood pressure because I checked it and it’s not high.

I did go back to my ear specialist yesterday and let him know what was going on with me. We had talked about having reoccurring attacks in the past so there wasn’t much he could tell me. So for now I am just waiting and see if things get better or not.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seeing the Doctor on Friday about Meniere's Disease

Well I am going back to my Otolaryngologist on Friday. Something definitely seems wrong. I am not sure if he can do anything or even suggest anything but I need to check in with him. One good thing is that the attacks that I am having right now aren’t as bad as they were before. There isn’t the constant spinning and I haven’t been sick to my stomach. Hopefully it is just a slight setback on my road to recovery from meniere’s disease.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Meniere’s disease and vision

Lately I have spent a lot of time wondering why my meniere’s disease is coming back. Last week I went to the doctor and found out my blood pressure was high, so I thought that was the reason. I am still having attacks, small attacks but attacks. Before that I thought it was the plane ride that I took in June. Well, it has been a month since that happened so my ears should have recovered since then.

Here is another theory I am tossing around, my vision has something to do with it.
Last summer was busy with gent injections every 2 weeks for a total of 4 injections and my cataract surgery, which was a month after that. It seemed like it was all squeezed together. After I had the first eye worked on I couldn’t believe how different everything looked, the colors were vivid and the sky was very bright. The time between having the right eye done and the left eye was strange because my vision was mixed up, everything was vivid coming in one eye and dull out of the eye that still had the cataract.

After the surgery was completed I had to put eye drops in many times during the day for several months till my eyes healed. This caused blurriness in my eyes. At the same time I was feeling the effects of the gent injections and I was having some of my worst attacks. It was at this time I went on disability.

My eyes got better, I stopped taking the eye drops and my meniere’s got better early this year. My vision was so good that I no longer needed prescription glasses just glasses from the drugstore.

Now some 6 months later my vision doesn’t seem as good as it was and I might need to go back to the eye doctor.

Is there a connection between my vision and Meniere’s disease coming back? I don’t know I’m not a doctor but I know that vision plays an important part in the balance system along with the inner ear.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Update on high blood pressure and Meniere’s disease

Recently I had written about the connection between high blood pressure and meniere’s disease. And I have also posted about not feeling well the past month or so. I thought that the meniere’s was coming back on me after a relatively peaceful remission period. Well I think I found out what happened.

I had all the symptoms of an attack coming on, light-headedness, slight dizziness but not the vertigo that I usually get. I decided to go to my regular doctor and see if he could shed any light on my condition. It didn’t take long to figure out what was wrong. My blood pressure was 150 over 100, which is way too high for me. He prescribed some blood pressure medicine for me and told me to keep an eye on it.

I had taken BP medicine for years and only stopped taking it a few years ago when my blood pressure because extremely low. At that time I had started to take a diuretic which also controls blood pressure. I still take a diuretic, dyazide, but apparently it doesn’t have that much effect on my blood pressure.

I have taken the blood pressure medicine for 4 days now and it has brought my BP numbers down. Unfortunately I had an attack last night while I was on the computer. It was very sudden, my head jerked violently to the right and the spinning started. What was strange was that the spinning didn’t last that long and I was able to make it to bed.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

How would you know if the Meniere’s has moved to the other ear?

The past 2 days have been horrible for me. I must have had at least four small episodes of meniere’s attacks. No vicious spinning or throwing up but the feeling came over me that if I didn’t lay down I would get sick. Luckily it was the weekend and I wasn’t at work or on the road. I took an Antivert on Friday night and Saturday. Saturday evening I took a phenregan, which surprisingly didn’t make me sleepy. I don’t know what is going on. A couple of posts ago I wrote about coming back from a plane ride and it made me feel sick. I just don’t know if it was the plane ride that is causing all these problems.

It could be that that my condition was just in remission for a half year and now it is back. It couldn’t be my diet because I haven’t changed my diet at all. So the increase in salt theory can’t be valid.

One thing that really scares me is the thought that the meniere’s has moved to the other ear. That is a real concern because I don’t think that you can have the gent injections in both ears considering that the injections kill the balance in the ear. You have to have some balance don’t you?

It is estimated that anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of people with Meniere’s go ‘bilateral’ (meniere’s in both ears). I hope that I am not in that group. But there isn’t very much documentation on how that would happen. I have looked and looked on the internet but I haven’t seen any information about the progression of meniere’s from one ear to the other.

Hopefully I am just going through a rough time right now.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Prednisone and Meniere’s disease

I have taken many medications for Meniere’s disease, such as antivert, valium, phenergan and diuretics. But I have never taken prednisone.

Prednisone is used for many different ailments that have to do with the autoimmune diseases. It can be used on tumors and inflammatory diseases. It can be administered orally or through an injection.

There are many side effects to take in consideration before using the drug. The drug has to be slowly weaned out of the system if not there could be complications.
Here is a partial list of side effects, such as:

Weight gain
Increased blood sugar
Abdominal pain
Facial swelling
Just to name a few.

Why use prednisone when you have Meniere’s Disease?

Since Meniere’s disease is considered an autoimmune disease, as well as other things, it makes sense that prednisone is used to treat it. My doctor never even mentioned it, but doctors often differ in how to treat a patient. I have read on forums and blogs that many people use it and found relief from it. I have also had people tell me to stay away from prednisone because of the terrible side effects.

As usual check with your doctor. I would love to hear any comments that you have and subscribe to my RSS feed.

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.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blood pressure and Meniere’s disease

For years I had taken blood pressure medicine and that kept my blood pressure in check. I was very conscious of the consequences of high blood pressure because my father had died of a heart attack. He started to take heart medicine and blood pressure medicine right after his first of five heart attacks. He was 48 years old at the time of that first very bad attack. But I have been keeping an eye on my blood pressure since I turned 30 so I think that I have an added advantage over him.

What’s all this got to do with Meniere’s disease?

Well, about 2 years before my Meniere’s started I was feeling lethargic and light headed. I went to my regular doctor and he took an EKG. The EKG looked a little irregular so he sent me to a cardiologist for tests.

I went through a battery of tests such as the treadmill and another test where I was put in a chair and spun around. These tests came back fine according to the cardiologist but he told me that my blood pressure was 90/60! He advised me to stop taking the blood pressure pills but to keep track of my BP.

When my meniere’s started my blood pressure was okay, a little high, but okay. It started to come down again when I went on the first diuretic that I took for meniere’s. It was going to be a balancing act to keep my blood pressure right and continue to take the diuretic.

I didn’t stay on the diuretic long (it didn’t seem to help with my meniere’s). After two years and my gentamicin injections I went back on a diuretic, triamterene-hctz.

I had my blood pressure checked a few weeks ago and it was sky rocketing and I have been feeling like I am going to have an attack almost on a daily basis.

Is there some connection between my blood pressure and Meniere’s disease? I have to wonder if my strange bp doesn’t in some way affect my meniere’s disease. When ever there is a problem with it there also are problems with the MM.

I haven’t read any thing that makes a connection but I have to wonder if there is.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meniere's and movement

The past few days haven’t been quite as bad as last week. I still feel as though I could have an attack. In my case that feeling that I get is pressure pushing down on my head. The worse part about getting that feeling is that it brings on panic. If I am at my desk or driving my car, my stress level rises and that is the worse thing that could happen. At that point I feel that if I turn my head ever so slightly I am going to start spinning. But one thing that I learned from my VRT sessions is that Meniere’s disease isn’t brought on by movement. I know that I have written that in a post before and I am still a little skeptical whether that is true.

What causes vertigo?

Vertigo or BPPV is caused by motion. Particles in the inner ear move around and send incorrect signals to the brain. That is why vertigo can be cured by therapy, such as the Epley maneuver or canalith repositioning procedure.

What causes Meniere’s disease?

Meniere’s disease is caused by a pressure in the inner ear or by an autoimmune disease or other things that no one knows about. Since there isn’t a cure it is hard to say what causes Meniere’s disease.

My own little test about whether motion has an effect on Meniere’s disease.

The other day I started to get that feeling that I described earlier in the post. My head started to get heavy. Usually if I am at home I would head straight to bed and lay there till the feeling passed. But this time I sat down in a chair and jerked my head left then right, trying to see if this would make me dizzy. It didn’t. Then I stood up quickly and sat down quickly. Still, I wasn’t dizzy. My head was still feeling heavy but with no spinning. I know this isn’t scientific but it showed me that turning my head or standing up quickly wouldn’t bring on the spinning and vomiting.

Now I feel a little less stress when I get that feeling coming over me.

I would love to read any comments you have about this post.