Meniere's Disease is a complex condition of the inner ear characterized by dizziness or giddiness associated with hearing loss, pressure in the ear, and ringing or ringing sounds. Some 2.6 million people in Europe and the United States suffer from Meniere's disease. Learn more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Meniere's disease.
Meniere's disease: symptoms and diagnosis
Without warning, Konrad G., 42 years old and a teacher by profession, felt a heavy pressure in the right side of the skull one evening. A little later he became dizzy, he felt that everything was spinning around him, then he vomited. Later, the dizziness subsided, but he felt a pressure in his right ear and felt that he was hearing badly.
The very next day, he went to see his doctor. The family doctor immediately suspected that a disease of the inner ear was the cause of the complaints. The disease Meniere's Disease, named after the French physician Prosper Menière (1799-1862), negatively affects the sense of balance and in fact applies to Konrad G. Many patients, however, are not properly diagnosed with the disease and a long journey through many medical specialists leads to the correct diagnosis late.
In the industrial nations, it is estimated that every 1000th person suffers from Meniere's disease. Especially persons between the 40th and 60th year of life are affected by the disease of the inner ear. For every fifth patient, this disease already exists in the family.
Too much fluid in the inner ear
Symptoms of Meniere's disease arise because too much fluid accumulates in the labyrinth of the inner ear, that part of the inner ear that is responsible for the sense of balance and hearing. The inner ear contains the cochlea and semicircular canals. They consist of bones that are designed with a soft membrane. A fluid circulates in the cochlea and in the semicircular canals - it is called endolymph. In the cochlea, the movement of the endolymph is triggered by sound waves. This sends sound signals to the brain.
The movement of the endolymph in the semicircular canals gives the brain information about the body position. If an excessive amount of endolymphatic fluid causes increased pressure in the inner ear, its ducts may swell and their function may be limited. The pressure in the auditory center gives the brain confusing acoustic signals such as sounds or ringing (tinnitus) or it stops receiving signals (hearing loss).
If there is excessive pressure in the organ of balance, the brain receives error messages regarding movement and body position - dizziness develops. The seizures are very different: they can rarely occur often. And they can last from minutes to several hours. After the attack sufferers are initially exhausted, but mostly symptom-free.
Morbus Meniere: causes unknown
The exact Meniere's Disease causes of this inner ear disease are unknown. As possible causes physicians assume changes metabolic and hormonal balance, also come circulatory disorders, stress and mental factors into consideration. The development of Meniere's disease varies from person to person. In more than two-thirds of patients, symptoms gradually improve and dizziness diminishes over time. In the other patients, the attacks of vertigo and tinnitus are getting worse and their hearing is steadily decreasing.