Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meniere’s disease and a cold

In this season of colds and various strains of flu, I had been lucky so far. My wife who works as a parapro in an elementary school hasn’t been that lucky. For the past two weeks she has had a bad cold. I thought that I wouldn’t catch it but I did and it has been playing havoc with my meniere’s disease.

It started over the weekend when I became congested. I didn’t take anything over the counter because of the effect it might have on my meniere’s. Monday morning I felt terrible. I was dizzy and my head felt very heavy. I took a Phenergan and stayed home from work. I was scared to drive because my balance was unsteady. I stayed in bed most of day and I felt a little better on Tuesday. I still was congested but the dizziness wasn’t there.

This morning I felt better than I had in the previous 2 days. Unfortunately when I got out of the shower without any warning my head spinned quickly and almost knocked me off my feet. I stumbled to the bed and laid there till the spinning stopped. I hadn’t had an attack like that in a long while.

Like most attacks that I have had this year this one was over quickly without any throwing up. I am definitely glad about that. I can only believe that my cold is responsible for this attack (at least I think it is).

I am definitely going to get the flu shot this year and if I can find it, the h1n1 shot because it is bad enough dealing with colds and flus AND then add Meniere’s disease.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Did you have balance problems as a child?

The last vacation that my family and I went on brought back memories of the family trips I used to take when I was a kid. I had always looked forward to going on vacation. It was mostly the beach, the same beach in Maryland, but I still enjoyed it. The thing that I didn’t like was the drive there.

As a child I seemed to get car sick every time we went on a trip lasting more than 2 hours. It seems that I would get nauseated shortly after we took off. My parents tried everything. I sat in the front seat, which for some reason they believed would help my car sickness. It didn’t. I wouldn’t eat much breakfast and that didn’t stop me from getting sick. And I tried Dramamine (a version of Antivert) which I promptly threw up after about 30 minutes into our trip.

My parents and I pretty much learned to deal with the car sickness business. As I became a teenager I no longer got car sick, so I though that my motion sickness problems were behind me. And they were till that car hit me from behind and I started the Meniere’s disease chapter of my life.

Looking back I have to wonder if that early childhood faze of getting car sick was a precursor of my current dilemma. Maybe it just took the car accident that I had to bring out the meniere’s disease. I don’t know for sure but it seems awfully strange that I had such a problem with motion sickness as a kid and now I have meniere’s.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Meniere’s disease and magnesium

I am always searching and reading about different ways that people have curtailed and helped alleviate their meniere’s disease. One of the things that I have come across lately is magnesium.
First of all magnesium is an important mineral that provides certain functions for the body. It transports energy. It helps produce protein and it is essential in the contraction and the relaxation of muscles.

Magnesium is found in many foods such as:

  • Bananas
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Grain

What is the connection between meniere’s and magnesium?

It seems that magnesium deficiency is linked with tinnitus, the ringing in the ears disorder commonly associated with meniere’s. It is also connected to migraines with are also associated with meniere’s. I have read conflicting reports as to how common magnesium deficiency is in the body. As with any supplements or vitamins, check with your doctor before taking them.

I suppose that you can put magnesium in with the alternative treatments for meniere’s and specifically tinnitus. I have read that many sufferers of Meniere’s’ disease have been helped with these types of treatments. So don’t be quick to write off anything just because someone says it doesn’t work.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

My meniere’s disease as of October

Things have been going pretty good for me lately. I have had a few bad days when I haven’t been able to drive but all in all it hasn’t been that bad.

I am wondering if a lot of it has to do with the Meniere’s disease running down as I age. (I’m going to be 52 in January) In the past I have written about meniere’s and aging and how it affects some people for the better. I hope that I am one of those people.

I have been walking a little lately I don’t know if it has affected my mm but it has helped me feel better which is important with this disorder. Stress and worry plays a big part in the mm in my opinion. I hesitate to say that because someone may think that if you just reduce your stress you won’t get mm. that certainly isn’t true! What stress and worry does is make mm worse. When you have an attack and your head is spinning, you’re nauseous; all this makes your emotional state unstable. So if you can limit the amount of stress that you have it will make the attack and the recovery period easier. Something that I have tried recently is autogenic training, its easy and you can do it by yourself. It does seem to help with the stress.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tinnitus and B12 Deficiency

My last post I wrote about how I had Meniere’s disease and not tinnitus. I hadn’t read as much about tinnitus as I have about meniere’s so I was surprised to learn about the connection between tinnitus and B12 deficiency.

Tinnitus like Meniere’s disease can be caused by many things and like meniere’s the causes are sometimes unknown. One possible cause of tinnitus is a vitamin B12 deficiency. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, b12 is water soluble vitamin that is found in some foods like fish, meat, and diary products. It is generally not found in plant foods. Vitamin B12 plays an important part in the formation of red blood cells and in neurological function.

Vitamin B12 can also cause ataxia (unsteady gait) in older people. Vegetarians are also at a risk for vitamin B12 deficiency because B12 is only found in mead and fish.

For more information on the connection between B12 deficiency and tinnitus go to Dr. Hain’s Website.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Meniere’s disease without the tinnitus

Meniere’s disease is a complicated disorder. So strange that there isn’t any cure and the cause is rather uncertain. It is probably safe to say that not everyone has the very same symptoms of meniere’s disease and it is possible to have meniere’s disease without the tinnitus.

I have read quite a bit about meniere’s over the past 5 years, mostly on the internet. Doctor’s websites, personal blogs and forums have a wealth of information. It is enough information to make your head spin (pardon the pun). Some folks merely had to reduce their salt or take a diuretic to control the attacks, although I think that most of people who can control their symptoms that easily don’t write much on the internet. Mostly the personal stories are about uncontrollable vertigo, roaring tinnitus and fatigue that may last for days.

I have had the uncontrollable vertigo, the throwing up and the fatigue aftermath but without the tinnitus. The only thing that has come close to tinnitus for me is a ringing sound that usually occurs before an attack. It’s annoying but when the attack comes either the tinnitus goes away or I don’t hear it.

Does anyone else have meniere’s without the tinnitus?

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Finding the right doctor for Meniere’s Disease

I have heard from so many people about their experiences with the doctor that is treating (or not treating) their meniere’s disease. A lot of the time the experiences are very bad and discouraging. That’s why finding the right doctor for Meniere’s disease is very important.

After my first bout of Meniere’s disease, of course I didn’t know that it was meniere’s in fact I had never heard of it before, I went to my regular doctor. He knew that I had been in a car accident but he also knew that I didn’t have any bodily injuries from it so he didn’t think that the dizziness that I had experienced was from the accident. So he recommended me to an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor (ENT).

This is the usual doctor to start with anything you are dealing with dizziness, especially the kind that I had. The visit was good, the doctor explained the possible reasons for the dizziness, and he thought that I had Meniere’s disease. He explained the implications of meniere’s and the general ways to relieve the symptoms, which was low sodium and diuretics.

I gave it a try. It was difficult because I had always used a good bit of salt on my food but I did pretty well. I also took the diuretic on a daily basis.

The attacks still came.

I went back to my regular doctor and asked him if you recommend someone else to see. I just wanted a second opinion and maybe another ENT would suggest another treatment or different medicine.

He recommended another doctor. Seeing this guy was probably the biggest waste of my time ever! I waited 2 hours for the doctor to tell me to just live with it because there wasn’t a cure and the surgeries performed by meniere’s patients were rarely effective.

For a while I did live with it until the attacks got more numerous. This time I went to another ENT, he was a young guy who suggested that I see an Otolaryngologist, someone who specializes in inner ear problems.

I did some research on the internet on this doctor and found out that he was well known in his field of Otolaryngology. On my initial visit I was pleasantly surprised that he gave me many options besides lowering my salt and diuretics. It took a while but I had now found someone who I could work with and trust. And that is so important when you are dealing with something like Meniere ’s disease.

So don’t give up if you feel that you are at a dead end with your doctor. Try to find someone who specializes in meniere’s or tinnitus, just don’t give up.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meniere’s disease and neck pain

My life with Meniere’s disease has brought on a lot of discomfort, from the spinning and the throwing up, the headaches and the stress. But it has also been a pain in the neck, literally.

Why should there be a pain in the neck for someone who has Meniere ’s disease? Well, it all goes back to what actually causes meniere’s and what doesn’t. When I went to VRT therapy I was told in no uncertain terms that Meniere’s disease is not caused by movement of the head or the body. A shift or quick movement that shifts your eyes and your vision shouldn’t set off an attack. If you had vertigo it was a different story because movement does affect that disorder.

And as I have written on more than one occasion, I am not completely certain that movement doesn’t have an effect on whether I have an attack. I’m no doctor or researcher, but I do know how I feel. I remember at times that a sudden attack just happened to occur after I moved my head quickly.

The connection to all this and neck pain is that meniere’s patients will hold their heads rigidly fearing that any sudden movement will bring on an attack. A rigid neck can also bring on quite a headache also. I can swear to that.

The best way to help alleviate the neck pain is to do stretching exercises. Start out slow and gradually you will increase the strength and flexibility of your neck. Another solution is to convince yourself that sudden movements wouldn’t bring on meniere’s attacks. I know that it is easier said than done.

Of course when ever you have a nagging pain anywhere it is best to have it checked out by your doctor to make sure that it isn’t something serious.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dealing with Meniere’s Disease

As I have written in the past, Meniere’s disease has an effect not only on your physical well-being but also on your emotional well-being. It is hard to say which one is more difficult when dealing with Meniere’s disease.

Since I have started this blog in January, I have read quite a few comments not only on my blog and my lens at squidoo but also on Meniere’s forums. It seems that the major problem, and probably my worst problem, is trying to stay positive when you know that an attack might be around the corner. And doesn’t it always seem that the attack happens at the worst time. As you know the stress level can be very high when you have to deal with that on a constant basis.

Another thing that beats you down emotionally is all the possible cures and treatments that are out there today. Unfortunately not all the treatments work for everyone. And when you are first diagnosed your ENT probably told you that there is no cure, which I am sure made you feel just great! If you are like me, you went through different medications and different doctors and maybe a procedure or two (gent injections) and had to find out the hard way what worked and what didn’t.

Here is the thing to remember, you can’t let this Meniere’s disease or disorder get you down not matter how difficult it may seem. Go through all the procedure and go through more than one doctor if you have to, find out what works for you. Just don’t give up! And read as much as possible on the subject there is a lot of great websites and forums that have a wealth of information.

Please don’t give up.

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