Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top viewed posts of 2010 for My Life and Meniere’s disease

Since it is the end of the year I thought that I would share with you the five most viewed posts of 2010. The list is comprised of 5 posts that had the most visits during the year. Even though all of the posts were written in 2009 there are still viewed quite a bit.

Betaserc for Meniere’s disease - Betaserc is a medication that is popular in Europe and other places in the world for preventing meniere’s disease. However in the USA it isn’t used because it isn’t considered effective. I have received many comments, some positive and some negative as to whether it works. If you are in the USA you can get the drug with a prescription from a Canadian pharmacy.

Vertigo heel is it effective - I was surprised at the number of folks that viewed this post during the year. I didn’t get a lot of comments from it but I know that natural remedies are popular with many people.  You can try it for yourself but many doctors feel that it isn’t effective.

Gentamicin Injections - This isn’t a surprise at all because I still receive comments from this post.  The decision whether to have this type of procedure can be difficult, it was for me. After 2 sets of shots I really don’t think that they did me any good. I also believe that it has affected my hearing for the worse.

Preventing a Meniere’s attack - Trying to find a way to prevent a meniere’s attack is an endless search and not always successful. From the comments on this post and others I have found out many ways that some folks try to avoid an attack. The information from others can be quite valuable. Although you have to remember that if it works for someone else it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you.

The Meniett Device - The meniett device hasn’t been around that long but there are people who like it. I would have tried it but my insurance company wouldn’t pay for it. There aren’t any side effects that I know of with it, so you can you might want to talk to your doctor about it.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Planning ahead for another year with Meniere’s disease

Well, 2010 is almost over and what a year it has been for me. My Meniere’s attacks came back with a vengeance leading me to another round of gent injections which didn’t help. I went back on disability and I am still there. It has been a tough year all around. But I found a lot of solace in writing this blog and hearing from everyone that have written comments. The participation means a lot to me. I also hope that I have been a help to many of you too.

As for 2011, I will continue working on the blog and finding out as much information about Meniere’s disease as possible. Please keep those comments coming in! Information and support from others is a very powerful tool!

I am hoping that in 2011 we will see more advances in the inner ear devices that are being tested now. Maybe next year there will be a real breakthrough.

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Happy Holidays to everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meniere’s disease and otosclerosis

One of the things that set Meniere’s disease apart is that you can't identify it on an x-ray and it is similar to other balance disorders like vertigo. This makes it difficult to diagnose. Vertigo is certainly a similar disorder with the same amount of spinning and the fact that you also can't identify it on an x-ray. Luckily vertigo can be cured by certain therapies. But there are some vestibular disorders that can be detected with x-rays or scans, such as otosclerosis.

According to the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) "otosclerosis is the abnormal growth of bone of the middle ear. This bone prevents structures within the ear from working properly and causes hearing loss. For some people with otosclerosis, the hearing loss may become severe."

Over half the folks that get it have parents that have also had otosclerosis. Your doctor can diagnose it by a hearing test and a CT scan. What I found as interesting is that the symptoms of this disorder are dizziness, balance problems and tinnitus. That sounds familiar doesn't it? According to a abstract Meniere’s disease and otosclerosis are known to coexist sometimes causing the treatment to be non-effective.

There are treatments for this disorder such as surgery (stapedectomy), hearing aid and medical treatment according to Dr. Hain's website.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Labyrinthectomy Recovery question

Surgery is one of the options for Meniere’s disease, usually the last one. If you have tried a low salt diet, or maybe meds or gent injections and they haven’t worked then your doctor probably has mentioned surgery. Some of the surgeries have shorter recovery times than others and some might even keep part of your hearing. Unfortunately, Meniere’s surgeries sometime come with major side effects like loss of hearing and balance problems. One surgery, Labyrinthectomy, removes the labyrinth of the ear. This surgery leaves no hearing in the ear.

I have written quite a few posts on this type of surgery and have received a lot of comments from folks who have had the surgery. One of the people that have had the surgery and have keep us informed about how she is doing is Peggy.

The other day I received another comment from her…

Two months after my Labyrinthectomy, I am still experiencing inflammation in and around the left ear that's causing dizziness and disorientation, as well as some pain and nausea. We've bombarded it twice with prednisone to get the inflammation down, and now are trying to keep it down with a constant diet of diazepam (valium). This is getting very frustrating for me. I can't concentrate on my new job very well, and I have a very difficult time focusing my eyes on a computer screen all day long. I'm going to the eye doctor next week to see if a set of "prism lenses" will help with the vision, but I'm at my wits' end about the vertigo and the inflammation that just won't go away.

Anybody have any experience with this? Prednisone just isn't a long-term solution, and it makes me have wicked mood swings.

Thanks Peggy

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dizziness versus Vertigo

It’s natural for most people at some time in their life to become lightheaded or dizzy. Whether you are a small child whirling around till your head spins or an older person who stands up to quickly you probably have experienced dizziness. In many of my posts I often write about being dizzy or lightheaded to describe a momentary sensation that is happening to me. This sensation is a far cry from the continual spinning of a vertigo attack which may also last for a few moments or a few hours. My problem has often been wondering whether a slight case of the dizzies will lead to a full blown vertigo attack.

What causes dizziness?

From what I have been told by doctors lightheadedness or dizzy spells is caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure which happens when you get out of bed too quickly or stand up too quickly. Of course there are other causes too, like drinking too much or having a bad reaction to a medication. Dehydration is also a cause of dizziness as well as diarrhea and vomiting.

What causes vertigo?

Vertigo as we all too well know is caused by vestibular problems (balance, inner ear problems) with one of the most common being BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). Head movement triggers Vertigo.

In my own case even before I knew about Meniere’s disease I had bad cases of dizziness that would last a while. What caused it? Blood pressure fluctuation? Maybe, or maybe it was just a Meniere’s attack or even vertigo, although I have been tested numerous times for BPPV and I don’t have it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What some believe about meniere’s disease

I was reading a website the other day on meniere’s disease and they mentioned that some consider this disorder psychosomatic, in other words it is caused by psycho-logical roots. Unbelievable! I will have to say that the article went on to say that not everyone agrees with that assumption. I don’t think that anyone with meniere’s disease would believe that their meniere’s attacks are brought on by themselves. Unfortunately as we all know too well there are a lot of folks that aren’t doctors that feel the same way.

We have talked about stress before and how that can be a trigger to meniere’s attacks, but it is by no means the only reason that the attacks occur. If that were the case we wouldn’t subject ourselves to gent injections, steroid injections, labys and any of the other procedures that are supposed to help with meniere’s.

The other day I got an email from someone that is just at the beginning of their meniere’s journey. Sadly they experienced something all too common to the rest of us, having to deal with people that don’t believe that you are sick

Here is an excerpt…

“It gets me down when the people at work think I'm just being dramatic. I have a very non-sympathetic boss who makes me feel incredibly guilty hen I call in sick or go home sick from work because of an attack. H makes sure to tell me how much I'm letting the team down.

Guess I'm just venting because I haven’t talked about these things with other people yet.”

It is such a shame that folks with meniere’s disease have to put up with others who just don’t understand what this illness does to you.

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the devices that are being tested will become successful.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Meniere’s disease and the flu

In the fall of every year I have this personal struggle as to whether I should get a flu shot or not. For many years I just went ahead and got one, sometimes there were worthwhile and other times I still got the flu. Since I have been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease I tend to shy away from them. My wife always gets the shot and inevitably she gets some form of virus (the flu shot only protects you against certain virus strains) She gets the shot anyway because she works with children all day and there always seems to be one child that is sick that may pass the illness around. I didn’t get the shot this year because I am at home and I didn’t think that I would catch any kind of bug if I was in the house all day. Of course I was wrong! Now I am dealing with cold and flu medications and hoping that it doesn’t make my Meniere’s worse.

In the past I have written about how medications can mess with your Meniere’s disease especially when you have a cold or virus. Right now I am taking some over the counter meds and some cough syrup hoping that will do the trick and I will avoid a doctor’s trip. It may take a little longer without the prescription stuff. My biggest concern is that my ears don’t start to ache. If I get an ear infection then I will be in trouble!

So how does the flu affect you? And what do you do for it?

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Challenges with bilateral Meniere’s disease

The other day I wrote about how Meniere’s disease changes your life in many ways, your job, your relationships and how your emotional state. In my own case, I write from a perspective of someone with Meniere's disease in one ear. It is difficult to even think how some folks with bilateral Meniere’s manage, but they do.

I received an email from someone who has Meniere’s in both ears and is in the navy which must be truly hellacious.

Here is part of the email from Crimson56…

I'm active duty in the Navy as military police. I've been "sick" since March 2008. Diagnosed with MD February this year in BOTH ears. The psychological effects have been ongoing for two years now. At first it was because of others tell me I was faking it (I didn't "look" sick), doctors not knowing what it was making me ill, being over-medicated and cross medicated, etc. I found little relief when I was diagnosed.

I can no longer carry or fire weapons, deploy over seas to other countries (income suffered), be aboard a ship, take flights, be around flight lines (jet noise) or stand in formation. My daily life has suffered as much as yours. Coffee makes me very ill, along with elevator/escalators, driving more than 30 minutes (night, traffic and rain making it worse), being in a florescent lit room for long periods, go more than a few hours without eating (mostly starchy or sugary foods to combat nausea). I have gained a significant amount of weight and have retreated to a more sedentary lifestyle. Cold temperatures put me in a great deal of pain so I now wear winter head bands.

I do not worry as much about when the next episode or attack will occur, but I do stress over the constant nausea I experience. I also have a constant rocking sensation that I fight against. I tend to trip over my own feet and drift to the right when walking. I take Zofran daily for the nausea and rely on Valium for attacks. Being in the military makes it more difficult to get the medication or rest I need. Doctors are not very educated about the disease and when they ask what works for my attacks they look at me like I'm an addict. I was recently told that despite my ordeal I am handling my diagnosis pretty well emotionally, but my body is not. For that I was put on Zoloft, in hopes to regain healthy hormone levels. Crossing my fingers, wish me luck!

Thanks Crimson56!

It is good to remember that if you feel that your doctor isn’t helpful go to another one, second opinions about treatments can be very beneficial.

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