What Causes Meniere’s Disease?
Meniere's Disease is a disorder that basically affects the sense of balance and hearing of the patient. This condition takes place in the inner ear and it may cause problems like vertigo, where patients experience a spinning sensation and a ringing sound as well. This is a chronic disorder, which requires a number of lifestyle changes so that it can be managed and treated without becoming a debilitating problem.
Read on to know more about the symptoms and causes of the condition.
Symptoms: The various signs and symptoms of this disease include a feeling of fullness in the ear, which has been affected by the condition. Also, most patients have a spinning sensation and a ringing sound in the affected ear. Nausea and vomiting may also be caused by this condition, along with sweating and loss of balance. It is also normal to feel uncoordinated when you are suffering from this condition.
Secondary Symptoms: This condition may also cause many other complications, which are known as secondary symptoms. These include anxiety, depression and stress. This usually happens due to the problems in the ear and even the problem of vertigo. This may cause problems for people who climb heights or ladders for their work or even for other recreational causes. The constant sense of dizziness and spinning may cause a person to become anxious and undertake stress when it comes to carrying out various kinds of functions in day to day living.
Causes: There are various causes of this condition, even though many medical reports suggest that the exact cause has not really been understood so far. As any doctor will tell you, the in the inner ear there is a labyrinth which contains fluids. When there is a problem with the composition and level of these fluids, the patient may develop Meniere’s Disease. This condition specifically affects the inner part of the ear. This part is made up of passages and a cavity as well as soft membrane like structures with hair like sensors. These sensors respond to the fluid’s movement within the ear. When this fluid does not have the appropriate levels, it can lead to many complications like Meniere’s Disease, which affect the nerve impulse that these sensors catch and transmit to the brain.
Stages: This disease progresses over a set of three stages. In the very first stage, the patient will experience much dizziness and nausea, before that progresses to the second stage. In this stage, the patient will have moderate to severe vertigo. This is also known as the middle stage. Finally, this may culminate into the third or late stage, which leads to more frequent episodes of vertigo. The hearing of the patient and the ringing sound in the ears will also get worse in this stage.
Vertigo is that sensation when a person feels that the world is spinning around him. It is a feeling of off balance.
While having a Vertigo, people often complain about feeling dizzy, basic daily activities like walking or moving becomes really intense for them. These episodes can impact everyday life.
Is Vertigo common?
Experiencing Vertigo at least once during a lifetime is quite common. It is often seen in older people, but it can happen to anyone at any age. Women are a little more prone to experience an episode of Vertigo than men.
Types of Vertigo:
There are two major types of Vertigo:
Central Vertigo: Central Vertigo occurs when there is a sudden and temporary malfunction in the brain, precisely in an area called the cerebellum.
Peripheral Vertigo: Peripheral Vertigo occurs due to a problem in areas of vestibular nerve or the inner ear. This area connects the inner ear and the brain. Peripheral Vertigo is the most common type of Vertigo.
According to the American Institute of Balance, Peripheral Vertigo is generally a more serious and dangerous problem compared to Central Vertigo.
Recurrent Spontaneous Vertigo with Head-Shaking Nystagmus:
Recently, researchers discovered a new type of Vertigo called “Recurrent Spontaneous Vertigo with Head-Shaking Nystagmus” or (RSV-HNS).
To diagnose RSV-HNS, the patients need to sit in a room without lights. The examiner changes the position of their heads, first in forward direction, then in side to side direction for about 15 seconds. The camera records the patient’s eye motions. It results in those who have RSV-HSN making an eye movement which lasts longer than the others. This movement is known as “nystagmus”.
Compared to other types of Vertigo, RSV-HSN shows a more severe sensation of motion sickness. People with RSV-HSN experience things like nausea, headaches, vomiting, and an unwillingness to head motions. These symptoms can be experienced anywhere from a couple of times a week to once a year.
The reason behind RSV-HSN is still unknown. Doctors recommend that proper medication helps to improve the condition.
Treatment for Vertigo:
A major part of the treatment of Vertigo depends on the cause of the Vertigo. Often, Vertigo goes away without any treatment. The reason behind Vertigo curing itself is that people adapting to the inner ear changes and finding different mechanisms to maintain balance.
Why a neurologist is the right choice to consult for vertigo?
The patient of vertigo should not visit an ENT doctor and must consult a good neurologist as basically it's either a problem of brain or of abnormal signals from the vestibular nerve from the ear. In no way it is a problem of ear per se. A neurologist has the training and expertise to deal with it, not an ENT doc. Also, it's important to consult urgently as sometimes it can be a sign of brain stroke (specially if associated with imbalance). Importantly, to rule out brain lesions like cyst, tumor, clots and nerve infections, consulting a neurologist is the best option available.
Apart from this, these are a few treatments:
Medicines: Medication tends to give relief to symptoms like motion sickness associated with Vertigo.
Vestibular Rehabilitation: Under this treatment, doctors try to aim at the patient’s vestibular strengths which send the signals to the body movement and head related to gravity.
Canalith Repositioning Manoeuvres: In this treatment, a physical therapist suggests different head and body movements, which help to release the deposit out of the canal and into an inner ear which can be absorbed by the body. This treatment is quite effective to treat Vertigo.
Surgery: If the reason behind causing Vertigo is some serious internal problem like tumor or a head injury, then, in such circumstances, surgery is highly recommended.
There are many treatments and medicines available for Vertigo. They are totally dependent upon the cause, symptoms, and condition of the patient. This is why it is important to consult a doctor or specialist for the best treatment option.