January 15, 2009

New Methods For Treating Meniere’s Disease

By definition, Meniere's Disease refers to a condition that has four basic symptoms ranging from episodic and fluctuating hearing loss, rotational vertigo, fluctuating tinnitus to fluctuating aural fullness, or a sense of air pressure in the middle ear. Some individuals also report experiencing vomiting and nausea, although these are generally not considered to be symptoms of Meniere’s but are only a consequence of vertigo. Today, new methods for treating Meniere’s disease are being analyzed and tested, which may someday help to ease the distress and ordeal that most patients undergo.

Some folks who have Meniere’s disease also report moments when they encounter memory loss, disorientation and confusion. The intensity of the symptoms may vary, usually from very mild to totally extreme. There are some who continue to feel a recurrent sense of imbalance, which may be the result of low-level vertigo. It’s also worth knowing that some patients experience rapid hearing loss, while some lose their hearing more slowly but do not become totally deaf. Other patients also feel varying degrees of fluctuating tinnitus on a daily basis, while some get tinnitus in a flash or in an instant that the victim doesn’t have the time to prepare before the episode of attack.

The new methods for treating Meniere’s disease are currently being tested for both short-term and long-term effects, and although many doctors will assert that no “one treatment works for everyone”, yet every treatment seems to work well for others. Ear-nose-and-throat specialists note that each individual seems to respond differently to various treatment modes, with some becoming free of symptoms because they simply observe a low-sodium diet. A large segment of physicians usually prescribe their patients a low-salt diet, since sodium is known to increase fluid retention in the body. Because of the notion that the symptoms of Meniere’s disease may result from too much endolymphatic fluid in the inner ear, doctors often advise their patients to considerably reduce overall fluid in the body, in the hopes that endolymphatic fluid would be reduced in the process.

Among the new methods for treating Meniere’s disease include imposing dietary and lifestyle modifications. The main rationale for implementing a dietary and lifestyle modification therapy is to aid in effectively reducing the conditions that may exacerbate or initiate symptoms. Most doctors will also ask their patients to quit smoking outright as well since nicotine can trigger the tinnitus. Currently, new clinical trials are being conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States. During these clinical trials, the test group is treated in a different way, while the control group would be given a placebo, or a fake drug. These clinical trials usually last for a year or more, and the results of both groups are compared to ascertain whether the individuals in the test group significantly improve as compared to the control group. The search for Meniere’s Disease treatment options and information continues, in the hopes that doctors may soon find ways of eradicating, or simply easing the stressful conditions of most patients.

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