Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My life and meniere's disease 2009

The year 2009 has almost come to an end and I am not sad to see it go. But I shouldn’t complain too much because all in all it was a good year for me and my meniere’s disease.

The year started with me going back to work after being on disability for 2 months and the first day that I was back I got sick, not real bad sick like throwing up and needing an ambulance sick. I think it was caused by the stress of being back at work.

In January I started to blog about my experiences as someone with Meniere’s disease. I wrote about 2 posts a week throughout the year. I found the experience to be very informational and rewarding. I received a lot of great comments and input from all the people that have read and continue to read this blog and I am very appreciative of that. Hopefully I will be able to continue my blog and my other blogs in 2010.

As for how I felt during the year, I must say that the meniere’s has been a lot better than in past years like 2008. I didn’t have any ambulance rides or trips to the emergency room in 2009, although I did have some rough patches during the year, especially after my plane flight in the summer.

Well, I hope that 2010 is a good year for you and me. And I hope you will continue to read my blog and comment.

Thanks and Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Meniere’s disease and Allergies

Recently, someone wrote a comment on one of my posts about the connection between Meniere’s disease and allergies. In one past post I briefly mentioned that allergies played a role in meniere’s. After doing a little more research it seems there is more to be said about meniere’s and allergies.

As many of you know, the reason you have meniere’s is as uncertain as the ways to relieve the symptoms. The general reason has always been due to excess fluid in the inner ear, but of course other doctors disagree saying that it could be due to an immune disease like herpes simplex. But one idea that should be discussed is whether meniere’s is caused by allergies.

An allergy is something that plays havoc with our immune system, not necessarily right away but it does cause a bad reaction like a skin rash. So that is interesting because there again is a connection between an immune disease, which could cause meniere’s, and allergies that affect the immune system.

A study done by a Dr. Jennifer Nerebery found that people with inhalant allergies or food allergies have a higher rate of meniere’s than those who don’t. The study concluded that dietary restriction and immunotherapy have benefited Meniere’s patients.

One report that I read didn’t think there was much evidence to connect meniere’s with allergies because only 1 in 3 meniere’s patients tested positive for allergies. Well, the problem with that logic is that most people with meniere’s aren’t tested for allergies at least I wasn’t. So this might be a case were there hasn’t been a lot of research done concerning allergies and meniere’s. As I have said before you shouldn’t rule out anything in regards to meniere’s whether it is a cure or a cause.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Meneire's Disease and the Holiday Season

I guess I should have written about this earlier but during the holidays it is always a good idea to watch what you eat especially if you have meniere's.

I haven't been really careful about what I have eaten this holiday season and I think I am paying for it. I don't know if it is the proliferation of candy, especially chocolate, or cookies that I have been eating that has caused me to feel so bad. I know the smart thing would be to just stop eating them but unfortunately the smart thing usually isn't the easy thing to do.

Chocolate seems to be something that brings on attacks from what I have read. I guess it is the caffeine in it that causes it or maybe something else. I can imagine that the sugar in cookies and candies can't be very helpful either. I tell myself to eat in moderation, but you know how that goes.

Another Christmas food that I have to be careful about is baked ham which has a lot of salt in it. Salt really isn't a trigger for me but I don't want to push my luck. I don't eat that much of it so I ought to be okay. And I am careful not to put any salt on anything I eat.

So be careful not to overdo it.

Have a happy Holiday!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Meniere’s disease and steroids

I have read from different forums and emails that steroids have been prescribed for Meniere’s disease. It seems that it can be injected in the inner ear or taken orally. If it is anything like the gentamicin injections I can’t imagine that it would be too pleasant of a procedure.

To get some information on steroids, I went to Doctor Hain’s website. He has a lot of article and graphs that easily make meniere’s more understandable.

Dr. Hain doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about steroid use to combat meniere’s, suggesting that it is more or less a last resort. The theory behind steroids is that it decreases inflammation in the ear and increases labyrinthine circulation. According to Dr. Hain the shots only last a few days before you have to another shot. Numerous shots don’t sound too good to me, especially after my experience with the gent injections! He recommends the gent injection over the steroid usage.

Dexamethasone is one of the most widely used steroids for this procedure. It is part of the glucocorticoid class of hormones that is also used for rheumatoid arthritis, Skin problems, and allergies among other things. Some of the side effects are insomnia, blurry vision, high blood pressure and swelling.

I would like to hear about anyone’s experiences with steroids or any comments


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Meniere’s disease and exhaustion

During the past few weeks I have had more than a few meniere’s attacks. They haven’t lasted too long but long enough to remind me that I still have to deal with this disorder. Besides the meniere’s attacks I have also had the feeling that an attack was about to come on quite a few times. I took the Antivert at times and at times I took the Phenergan. I think that they helped stave off attacks with they come with side effect, exhaustion.

After an attack of meniere’s especially a bad attack you feel like you have run a marathon carrying weights on your back. Not only are you physically tired but mentally tired as well. The stress as you well know can wear you out also. Recovery time from an attack could be a day or even days. After one particularly bad attack I remember being exhausted for about a week.

What really keeps you from getting your energy back is the medication that meniere’s patients usually take. Antivert, Phenergan and valium all work to some degree but they all make you tired especially the Phenergan, which I usually only use when I am extremely sick. It really becomes a difficult decision for me sometimes, if I take the medicine I still might get sick and I will be even more tired. But if I don’t take the medicine I risk having an attack.

Another issue that I have read somewhere is that you may build up a tolerance to Antivert. I don’t know if that is true or not (I hope not!)

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meniere’s disease and the tinnitus masker

Tinnitus goes along with the vast majority of meniere’s patients. The constant ringing is nerve wracking and doesn’t ever seem to stop. Thankfully I don’t have much of a problem with tinnitus yet. One way to get relief from the never ending sound is by using a tinnitus masker.

The sound that is usually associated with tinnitus is a ringing sound. But the sound varies from patient to patient. The sound that I usually get is more of a wind hissing sound. And the sound always comes from my bad ear, the one that has the meniere’s. But it should be noted that you can have tinnitus without meniere’s. It can be a result of medication, being hit on the head, even a buildup of ear wax can cause it. Although tinnitus is very annoying it doesn’t have any effect on your general health. What it does to your emotional state is another matter.

Of course the most important question is what cures it. There are host of treatments, such as biofeedback, drug therapy, vitamin and supplement therapy and a thing called a tinnitus masker.

Quite awhile back I wrote a post on things that help with tinnitus and one those things was a tinnitus masker. It seems that it is like a tiny hearing aid that blocks out the ringing of tinnitus. Apparently that sound is easier to deal with then the irritating noise that you get with tinnitus. The concept is similar to playing a sound machine at night to block excess noise that can be annoying. As with most devices they don’t work for everybody.

For more information, go to the American Tinnitus Association.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Is meniere’s making you depressed?

Is meniere’s making you depressed?

If Meniere’s disease doesn’t get you down and depressed I don’t know what would. The spinning and the throwing up and the bad timing of the attacks sure gets me down. And from what I have read others feel the same way.

Years ago way before I had Meniere’s disease I had a rough period in my life. Like many people I went to a doctor for counseling. He combined counseling and prescription drugs for depression (something that I had since I was a teenager). At first I was reluctant because I worried about becoming addicted and the harmful side effects. The medicine and the counseling for me at least was a big success.

When I was first diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, my doctor and I never really discussed what this disorder was doing to me emotionally. We talked about the physical aspects but never how it harmed my overall mood and feelings of deep depression. I can’t help to think that the emotional problems of meniere’s are sometimes ignored, when they should be just as important as relieving the spinning and the nausea.

Over the past year that I have written this blog I have received quite a few comments from people just like me who feel that their world has been turned upside down and nothing will make it right again.

As a matter of fact from one of my most recent posts I received this comment...

"I am very lucky that I have overcome many of the worst symptoms of Meniere's. I was diagnosed 3 years ago and I am now 24 years old.
Unfortunately my only remaining symptoms affect my deep passions and hobbies the most - gradual hearing loss and tinnitus along with "tinnitus attacks" is what I like to call them. My hearing is slowly dimishing in my left ear. My passion and hobbies include audio engineering, recording, musicianship, acoustic design, etc. There is no other hobby or industry that depends on your hearing more than mine. I have to really get creative when trying to balance and fine tune audio when I only have 1 good ear. I'm starting to question all of the time and money I'm investing, and have invested, in this passion of mine - I probably won't be able to continue at the rate of my deafness. Not to sound to depressing but it's quite dream shattering.

I wish you and all the commenters the best."

Very sad indeed to hear how something that is a part of your life is taken away because of this or any disorder.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Meniere’s disease and dental problems

About 2 months ago I had a problem with a wisdom tooth. It was strange because I’m 52 years old and I have never had any problems with my wisdom teeth. Anyway, like a lot of health issues that I have there seems to be a connection between Meniere ’s disease and dental problems.

It started out as just a regular toothache, whenever I tried to eat anything my teeth and my gums would ache to the point that I didn’t want to eat anything. Unfortunately the pain went from my mouth to the side of my face and this lead to an earache. And an earache is the last thing that I need with my meniere’s disease. I went to a oral surgeon who was recommended by my dentist. He had no problem pulling the tooth; it only took 20 minutes to get the tooth out. I thought my dental troubles were over, but I was wrong.

After the initial gum bleeding during the next couple of days, everything seemed to be going fine. Then a piece of the bone cut through my gum, no problem I worked it loose and it eventually fell out. a few days later another piece of bone cut through my gum. Once again I worked it out. this kept happening over and over again for about a month after the wisdom tooth was pulled. All the while my jaw, my gums and my ear were hurting.

The past few weeks I haven’t had any problems with my teeth until yesterday when I bite down on something and I felt the familiar pain of a toothache again. I will be making another appointment to the dentist on Monday hopefully I won’t have to have another tooth pulled.

All during this time of my dental turmoil my meniere’s has really been acting up. Maybe it was the stress or maybe it was the earache, I’m not sure. Although I did find something on the web about a link between meniere’s and dental problems, it’s pretty interesting you might want to check it out.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The stages of Meniere’s disease

There are many disorders and diseases that seem to go through stages, unfortunately most go from bad to worse. Early warning signs in the early stages are sometimes key to your treatments. Are there stages of Meniere’s disease?

Over the past year since I have started this blog I have given a lot of thought to why I have Meniere’s disease. At first I thought it was just the car accident that I was in. But I am not so sure now. In an earlier post I wrote about my problems with being car sick as a child. Maybe this was the first stage of my meniere’s disease. I can’t say for sure. Also as a child I had what seemed like a lot of problems with earaches. I went to the doctor’s repeatedly to get drops for my ears to relieve the pain. Was this somehow a sign that I was moving closer to meniere’s?

About twenty years ago I had headaches that were attributed to my high blood pressure. I started on medication and my blood pressure went from too high to too low. When it was too low I would get very light headed, similar to the feeling I would have before a meniere’s attack I went off the blood pressure medication for a few years only to get back on it a last year. Of course the mix up in my blood pressure might also have something to do with me taking a diuretic, which I still take.

So after the car sickness and earaches during my youth, and the headaches during my thirties and forties, the car accident came along and then came the Meniere’s disease. Of course whether all this things tie in together I’m not sure but it seems more than a coincidence.

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