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Friday, November 20, 2015

3 Ways You Can Live Safer with Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a condition that affects the inner ear, causing unpredictable episodes of vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and sometimes hearing loss.  Most people experience these symptoms in one ear.

The medical world isn’t sure what causes Meniere’s.  Believed to be triggered by a variety of factors including head trauma, allergies, improper fluid drainage from the ear and other possible factors, the condition isn’t well understood.  Researchers do know that symptoms originate from the labyrinth—a combination of bones and membranes that make up the inner ear. Inside the labyrinth are tiny hair-like structures that sense the movement or change of fluid inside the ear. Any alterations in the amount, pressure or chemical composition of this fluid could cause symptoms like those seen with Meniere’s.  While there’s no cure for the condition, there are a variety of medications that can help manage Meniere’s symptoms.

Stay safe with Meniere’s

Meniere’s can affect a person’s balance, and can impact their ability to walk or even stand in one place without feeling like falling over. That’s why it’s important to be aware of possible triggers and activities that might put you at risk for injury.

1)  Avoid heights.  It doesn’t take a high fall to cause serious injuries. Climbing a ladder to clean the gutters or standing on a chair in the kitchen can put you at risk if an episode should occur. If you must climb, let someone know what you are doing, ask for their assistance, or consider hiring a professional for big jobs.

2)  Don’t drive a car or operate heavy machinery.  If you have frequent episodes of vertigo it may not be safe to operate a car or other machinery. Try to learn what activities or movements tend to trigger an attack and do your best to avoid them if you must drive. If possible, get someone to drive you where you need to go or take public transportation if it’s available.

3)  Sit or lay down immediately.  This may seem obvious, but getting your body into a safe position is important. If possible, try to assume a position that helps relieve your symptoms. There are several approaches your doctor or physical therapist can show you to help resolve symptoms. Stay in a safe position until your symptoms clear.

It may not always be possible for you to have someone around to help at all times. If this is the case, consider keeping your phone or an emergency alert system available if you find yourself injured or in need of medical assistance after an attack.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.