Meniere’s Disease is common, occurring in more than 3-5 million Americans. Meniere’s Disease is a condition characterized by recurrent vertigo (dizziness), hearing loss, and tinnitus ( a roaring, buzzing, or ringing sound in the ears). These affects only occur in one ear but up to 30% of cases can develop the problem in both ears.
The reason I chose this topic was because I am truly amazed by how the human ear works and I wanted to know how this disease can make it all stop working. Also, I was watching my favorite show called ‘Switched at Birth’ and one of the actress on the show name Katie Leclerc has Meniere’s Disease herself so that got me even more interested.
Here is a little bit more background information about Meniere’s Disease and where it came from.
Meniere’s disease was named for the French physician Prosper Meniere, who first described the illness in 1861. It is an abnormality within the inner ear. A fluid called endolymph moves in the membranous labyrinth or semicircular canals within the bony labyrinth inside the inner ear. When the head or body more, the end lymph moves, causing nerve receptors in the membranous labyrinth to send signals to the brain about the body’s motion. A change in the volume of the endolymph fluid, or swelling or rupture of the membranous labyrinth is thought to result in Meniere’s disease symptoms.
There is no test or single symptoms that a doctor can use to make the diagnosis. The diagnosis is strictly made upon your medical history and presence of:
Two or more episodes of vertigo lasting at least 20 minutes each. Tinnitus
Temporary hearing loss
A feeling of fullness in the ear.
The cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown; however, scientist are studying several possible causes including noise pollution, viral infections, or alterations in the patterns of blood flow. Symptoms
Symptoms include severe dizziness, tinnitus. Hearing loss, and the sensation of pain or pressure in the affected ear. Symptoms last up to several hours, and occur as often as daily to as infrequently as once a year. A typical attack includes vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss. Some people with Meniere’s disease may only experience a single symptom, like dizziness or intense ringing in the ear. Vertigo attacks are so severe it can force a person with the Meniere’s disease to have to sit or lie down. Vertigo also causes headache, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
There is not cure for Meniere’s disease but doctors do recommended Antihistamines like diphenhydramine. Also, barbiturates drugs, like atropine relive the vertigo. Scopolamine, can minimize nausea and diarrhea.
They are also some alternative treatments. Changing your diet and your behavior are recommended by doctors. Also, eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and salt may help relive the frequency and intensity of attacks in some people with Meniere’s disease. Acupuncture is also a alternative treatment that has been shown to help people with Meniere’s disease according to, The World Health Organization (WHO). Interview
Thankfully, I got the chance to interview a real person who has Meniere’s disease. Her name is Anne Pope. She had Meniere’s disease over 30 years ago, so her symptoms have died down. The interview took place April 5th, 2013 in my house. Me: Hi Anne, thank you so much for letting me interview you. I have 10 questions to ask you. Question 1: How is the diagnosis made for Meniere’s disease? Anne: Interestingly, Meniere’s is diagnosed by ruling out other problems such as a brain tumor that can result in the same symptoms. When all else is ruled out, the diagnosis becomes Meniere’s Syndrome. There are certain characteristic symptoms- hearing loss, a...
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