Menière's disease


Ménière's disease (MD) is a disease of the inner ear that is characterized by potentially severe and incapacitating episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ear. Typically, only one ear is affected initially, but over time, both ears may become involved. Episodes generally last from 20 minutes to a few hours. The time between episodes varies. The hearing loss and ringing in the ears can become constant over time.

The cause of Ménière's disease is unclear, but likely involves both genetic and environmental factors. A number of theories exist for why it occurs, including constrictions in blood vessels, viral infections, and autoimmune reactions. About 10% of cases run in families. Symptoms are believed to occur as the result of increased fluid buildup in the labyrinth of the inner ear. Diagnosis is based on the symptoms and a hearing test. Other conditions that may produce similar symptoms include vestibular migraine and transient ischemic attack.

No cure is known. Attacks are often treated with medications to help with the nausea and anxiety. Measures to prevent attacks are overall poorly supported by the evidence. A low-salt diet, diuretics, and corticosteroids may be tried. Physical therapy may help with balance and counselling may help with anxiety. Injections into the ear or surgery may also be tried if other measures are not effective, but are associated with risks. The use of tympanostomy tubes (ventilation tubes) to improve vertigo and hearing in people with Ménière's disease is not supported by definitive evidence.

Ménière's disease was identified in the early 1800s by Prosper Menière. It affects between 0.3 and 1.9 per 1,000 people. It typically starts in people 40 to 60 years old. Females are more commonly affected than males. After 5 to 15 years of symptoms, the episodes of the world spinning sometimes stop and the person is left with loss of balance, poor hearing in the affected ear, and ringing or other sounds in the affected ear or ears.

Source: Wikipedia

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