Vertigo is a common symptom in Portland. When accompanied by pressure in the ears, hearing loss that comes and goes and a ringing or other sound, you may be suffering from an inner ear disorder called Ménière’s disease.
Symptoms of Ménière’s Disease
A French doctor named Prosper Ménière identified his namesake disease in 1861. Because of the tricky accent symbols on modern-day keyboards, we kinda wish he’d just named it Prosper’s disease. In any case, Prosper’s…err, Ménière’s disease, is fairly common. About 12 in every 1,000 people in Oregon are diagnosed every year.
Symptoms of Ménière’s disease vary in frequency and duration. Episodes may last only a few minutes for some patients, while others are struck for 24 hours at a time. The unpredictable nature of the disease means some individuals are affected several times a week and others might go years between episodes.
Signs of Ménière’s to Watch For
Warning signs often precede an attack. These typically include dizziness, headache, loss of balance and sensitivity to sounds. During episodes, patients might experience severe vertigo (the sensation that either the person or their environment is spinning), tinnitus, fluctuating hearing loss, fullness or pressure in the ears, anxiety, blurry vision, nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse, trembling and diarrhea. Some are so tired after each episode that they end up sleeping for a long time.
Doctors don’t know what causes Ménière’s disease. There is often a buildup of fluid in the inner ear that precedes an episode, though it is unclear what causes this excess fluid. Some experts believe it’s the result of a problem in the endolymphatic sac, an organ that controls the volume and pressure of fluids in the inner ear. It might also be related to circulatory disorders, viral infections, trauma, allergies, migraines or blockages in the ear canal. Ménière’s disease is most likely to affect patients in Oregon who are aged 40-60.
Treating Ménière’s Disease
There is no cure for Ménière’s disease, but doctors in Portland help patients manage their symptoms by prescribing medications such as motion sickness and anti-nausea drugs, diuretics, antibiotics and oral or injectable steroids. The goal of treatment is to reduce how often episodes occur and limit their severity.
Some patients are able to get a handle on Ménière’s disease by incorporating lifestyle changes such as cutting back on sodium, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate and MSG. It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Eliminating tobacco, avoiding allergens and learning some relaxation exercises to combat stress and anxiety may all help. Patients with severe reactions might be taught vestibular rehabilitation exercises or undergo surgery.
If you are experiencing episodes of Ménière’s disease, contact a specialist in Portland. They’ll help you manage your symptoms so you can live long and Prosper.
You had to know that one was coming…