Managing Meniere’s Attacks
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
Meniere's disease is caused by fluid buildup in the inner ear, which regulates hearing and balance. People with Meniere’s disease have sudden, unpredictable attacks of dizziness (vertigo), nausea, and headaches. They may also experience intermittent hearing loss and ear ringing (tinnitus). These attacks can last for hours, making it difficult or even impossible for people to do everyday activities. Because attacks can start without warning, it is easy to be caught off guard.
The following are helpful methods to use to help manage Meniere's attacks.
Avoid Things That Can Trigger Attacks
Specific actions or events can trigger Meniere’s attacks or make attacks last longer. These triggers can be different for different people, but the most common are:
Keep Emergency Medications With You
Many people take medication daily to keep fluid from building up in the inner ear. But people also need medication to get through the attacks. These are called emergency medications. Some people need two or more emergency medications during spells. Some common ones include:
Family and friends naturally want to help when you are having an attack, but make sure they do not accidentally give you medication that can worsen your attack. Let your friends and family know that the following medicines can worsen your symptoms:
Limit Salt, Alcohol, And Caffeine Intake
Research data reveals that specific foods and substances will worsen attacks by increasing fluid buildup in the inner ear. Follow these rules of thumb:
Do Not Overlook Your Physical Safety
A Meniere’s attack may come with the risk of physical injury. You may lose your balance and fall or have an accident driving during an attack. When symptoms start, find a safe place to sit or lie down. It is beneficial to locate a spot in or near the places you spend a lot of time in. If you are driving, pull over at the first sign of an attack so you do not get into an accident.
Changes in barometric pressure could trigger an attack. Before you go out, check the weather forecast and keep a weather or barometer app on your phone. If you see a storm or rain alert, consider changing your plans and do not get behind the wheel.
Learn To Recognize Your Aura
Many individuals with Meniere’s disease get an aura before an attack. Auras are mild symptoms that can warn you that you are about to have an attack. You might miss your aura if you are not paying attention. Aura symptoms include:
Focus On Your Mental Health
There is no cure for Meniere’s disease. But together with treatment, you could go years or even decades without having an attack. Studies prove that with treatment, many people with Meniere’s disease may go about their usual activities.
While this is good news, it is crucial to understand that attacks are stressful. Being worried about having an attack also adds to stress, as does the worry of losing your hearing. Many patients with Meniere’s disease report higher levels of anxiety and depression. So it is crucial to address mental as well as physical health and consider the following:
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