Menieres disease

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Overview

Meniere disease is a disorder of the inner ear characterized by hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo. In most cases, it is slowly progressive and has a significant impact on the social functioning of the individual affected.

The current diagnostic criteria defined by the Barany society by Lopez-Escamez et al. can help differentiate between a probable and a definite Meniere's disease. 

Patients with a definite Meniere disease according to the Barany Society have:

Two or more spontaneous episodes of vertigo with each lasting 20 minutes to 12 hours

Audiometrically documented low- to medium-frequency sensorineural hearing loss in one ear, defining and locating to the affected ear on in at least one instance prior, during, or after one of the episodes of vertigo

Fluctuating aural symptoms (fullness, hearing, tinnitus) located in the affected ear

Not better accounted for by any other vestibular diagnosis

Probable Meniere disease can include the following clinical findings:

Two or more episodes of dizziness or vertigo, each lasting 20 minutes to 24 hours

Fluctuating aural symptoms (fullness, hearing, or tinnitus) in the affected ear

The condition is better explained by another vestibular diagnosis.

Symptoms

Meniere’s disease symptoms tend to come on as “episodes” or “attacks.” These symptoms include:

vertigo, with attacks lasting anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours

loss of hearing in the affected ear

tinnitus, or the sensation of ringing, in the affected ear

aural fullness, or the feeling that the ear is full or plugged

loss of balance

headaches

nausea, vomiting, and sweating caused by severe vertigo

Someone with Meniere’s disease will experience at least two to three of the following symptoms at one time:

vertigo

hearing loss

tinnitus

aural fullness

Causes

The cause of Meniere's disease is unknown. Symptoms of Meniere's disease appear to be the result of an abnormal amount of fluid (endolymph) in the inner ear, but it isn't clear what causes that to happen.

Factors that affect the fluid, which might contribute to Meniere's disease, include:

Improper fluid drainage, perhaps because of a blockage or anatomic abnormality

Abnormal immune response

Viral infection

Genetic predisposition

Risk factors

Allergies.

Abnormal immune system response.

Abnormal fluid drainage caused by a blockage.

Head injury.

Genetic risk.

Migraine headaches.

Viral infection.

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Complications

The unpredictable episodes of vertigo and the prospect of permanent hearing loss can be the most difficult problems of Meniere's disease. The disease can unexpectedly interrupt your life, causing fatigue and stress. Vertigo can cause you to lose balance, increasing your risk of falls and accidents.

Prevention

No, but if you have Ménière’s disease, you can reduce your risk the disease will worsen. Contact your healthcare provider if you suddenly develop dizzy spells that may be vertigo. These symptoms may indicate Ménière’s disease. Some people have family members with this disease. If that’s your situation, ask your healthcare provider about monitoring your overall health for indications you’re developing Ménière’s disease.

Reduce salt in your diet.

Stop smoking.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine.

Avoid exposure to loud noises.

Manage stress.

Use caution at home and on the job to avoid falling or having an accident if you feel dizzy.