Living Dizzy with Meniere's Disease

It all starts with the ear.
It all starts with the ear. | Source
Inner ear and it's parts
Inner ear and it's parts

What is Meniere's Disease?

I'm sure you've been told more than once that you are dizzy....most of us have. Never mind the blond hair thing, I know I've been told I'm dizzy at times. The sorry thing is I am! Not because of my blond hair but because of my Meniere's Disease. I wasn't born with it and didn't really have it till I was in my forties (no comments about age please). While it is a serious disease with serious consequences for many, I have been lucky and guess I have what could be called a mild case though dizziness is no joke. For some the Meniere's Disease diagnosis is an end to a normal life.

What Meniere's Disease is, is an inner ear disorder that affects balance and hearing. It could be called an inner ear disease since this is where it originates. To date my hearing loss has been so limited as to be attributed to my age. (There's that age thing again!) Whether we like it or not as we age we lose the ability to hear certain high pitched sounds. If you want to check this 'ability' click here or ask your kids, I'm sure they have an app for that! So my hearing loss is minimal and though I have it checked regularly it hasn't deteriorated past what is normal for my age.

Another effect of this disease is tinnitus. This is a ringing in the ears. Very annoying and can drive you crazy. Of course tinnitus can be caused by other things but also can accompany Meniere's. Again, I am lucky. Mine is very sporadic and I live without it more than with it, thankfully.

There are times, during a dizziness attack,  you see things as if they are in a spinning world!
There are times, during a dizziness attack, you see things as if they are in a spinning world!

Dizziness

But what about the dizziness? Ah yes, since Meniere's is an ear disorder it affects balance as well as hearing. I never know for sure when I will get a Meniere's attack but I have noticed weather plays a part. I am more accurate than your local meteorologist. I can tell when a weather change is coming by the pressure in my ears often accompanied by a real dizziness attack. Sometimes it is so bad I have to lie in bed. I have found that I also sleep a lot when I am having a Meniere's attack making me wonder what really made Sleeping Beauty sleep! The doctor says it is my body's way of dealing with the dizziness.

However, what happens when I'm not at home and I get an attack? I can usually feel it coming on so if I'm not too far from home I get a chance to get home but when I was working it was not always that easy. I was once at a computer conference in Long Island when an attack came on. I couldn't not go to the conference since I was already there. Fortunately there were several people from work with me and they did all they could to help me out. When it first hit we were walking to a presentation. One person stood on one side of me and one person on the other so that if I lost my balance I wouldn't fall. I told them not to worry I was a weeble and weebles wobble but they don't fall down.

As we entered the elevator, to get me to my room, I was pretty dizzy. I was swaying and looking rather drunk though I hadn't touched a drop. However, the lady in the elevator with us kept giving me dirty looks thinking wow, this one's got a load on and it's only 8:00 p.m. I was able to sleep for a short time and the attack went away.

Meniere's and Diet

There is also a lot of information about Meniere's and diet. The biggest issue is salt. Eating salt can cause your body to retain fluids, this can throw off your balance. It is difficult to eliminate alll salt from your diet but strictly limiting it is a good idea. I LOVE bacon but if I eat it I take the risk of having an attack. I have switched to lower sodium bacon and it hasn't seemed to bother me, the moral of that story is, there are ways to deal with your salt intake.

It is believed that caffeine can effect your if you have tinnitus (ringing in your ears) by making the tinnitus louder. Again, this will affect different people in different ways. You will have to test for yourself to see if caffeine bothers you or not.


Dr. Carlo Oller, emergency physician, talks about Meniere's Disease

While I am making light of this whole situation it really is nothing to joke about. As I said earlier, I am lucky and have a mild case. I can still function though many times we hesitate to make vacation plans not knowing if I will have to sleep the whole time we are gone or not. Actually, the longest I have slept with an attack is three days. Usually 24 hours will do the trick.

There are people who are so severely plagued with this disease they have to give up their jobs and cannot drive a car. I have had times when I couldn't drive but again was fortunate enough to have someone around who could drive me.

The worst part is there is no cure for Meniere's since no one knows the reason you get it in the first place. Suggestions for coping with it include a low salt diet, diuretic or motion sickness pills when you are having an attack, avoid strobe lights and going around in circles (I know we all do at times but mostly I mean as in carnival rides). These are my suggestions gleaned from the time I've had the disease. You can find more information about Meniere's at the home page for the disease Menieresinfo.com

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved


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Comments 10 comments

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, I can totally understand what you mean, my mum had it! she was deafened slightly in her ear when she had an op for nasal trouble and then she developed menieres, and of course tinnitus, I remember her always saying about dizziness, and it also made her fall asleep in the chair for a while, the dizziness usually affected her when we went out, nightmare! I often had to guide her to a seat until it went off, but the tinnitus drove her mad, constantly whining in her ear. I couldn't resist your link to the sound page, I fell into the cliche' section! lol 14. something, that says you won't hear anymore over 20 years old. showing my age too!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

So sorry to hear your Mom had Meniere's it's totally unexplained and unexpected. We don't really want to talk about age ;)


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 4 years ago from Central United States

tillsontitan meniere's can also be brought on by a blow to the head. You are a lucky one. I have a form of meniere's which has me at times totally deaf. I am wheelchair bound because the episodes come on at any time and I still fall (wheelchair and all) about once a month. In my case a fall while I was still walking crushed three disc's so I am wheelchair bound for life. It took over a year to learn to drive with meniere's. Luckily I always spin in one direction so can control a vehicle long enough to get off the road. To this day my salt intake from all forms is maintained at a very low level. Being human there are both days when this is messed up from my mistakes and from mislabeled products. There is an operation which will stop menieres and in discussions with doctors it was decided not to go forward in my case. With the crushed disc's there really wasn't a need.

Interesting information which will help people understand how we with menieres live SHARING so those who I deal with will understand how I live.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

I'm sorry wheelinallover that you are one of those people who suffers from the really severe Meniere's. I can imagine what that's like from the times I have bad attacks. I think you make a good point, people need to understand about this disease and what it does to us so they can understand us. Stay well.


Mighty Joe Young profile image

Mighty Joe Young 4 years ago

I'm one of the 'severely plagued'. I've had Meniere's since childhood and am heading for the 'worst case scenario' of bilateral deafness et cetera.

Since there's so little out there to help us I have set up a social network for people with Meniere's, Tinnitus and other similar disorders.

www.menieresworld.com

Everyone's welcome.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for the link Joe Young, I will definitely check it out.


Mighty Joe Young profile image

Mighty Joe Young 4 years ago

Thank you ;)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Not dizzy yet! Only if I write 3 hubs in a roll. Meniere's Disease diagnosis can stop a normal living, and that is really a pain! Hope you are doing better Till!


healthylife2 profile image

healthylife2 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

I have never heard of this disease so found this very informative. This will help others that might not know they have it and make people more compassionate towards those dealing with it. Voted up!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Lord, fortunately for me it is episodic and if I'm careful it usually doesn't last more than a day or two.

I do hope people will find it useful Healthylife2, it took a while for me to get my diagnosis.

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