More than 615,000 people in the United States have Meniere’s disease and about 45,000 people are diagnosed with it each year.
The disease was discovered in the 1860s by a doctor in France named Prosper Meniere. But, despite its prevalence and how long doctors have known about the condition, few people are familiar with Meniere’s disease. If you’re the family caregiver to an older adult who appears to be losing their hearing, it could be caused by Meniere’s disease, which is treatable.
General Information about Meniere’s Disease
Meniere’s disease is a problem with the inner ear. Although it most commonly begins when a person is between 40 and 60 years of age, it can happen at any time. The problem occurs when fluid called endolymph builds up inside a part of the inner ear called the labyrinth. The labyrinth is a part of the ear that affects both balance and hearing. The endolymph causes receptors to send signals to the brain when the body moves. When the fluid level is imbalanced, though, false signals are sent.
The exact cause of Meniere’s disease isn’t known, but there are several theories. Some believe that it happens when blood vessels are constricted. Others think the disease happens as a result of infections or allergies. There is also some evidence that Meniere’s disease may have a genetic component since it seems to run in families.
Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease
There are four main symptoms of Meniere’s disease. Typically, the symptoms clear up on their own, getting better or disappearing completely. Episodes of Meniere’s disease can happen within a few weeks of each other or even years apart. The symptoms include:
Vertigo: Recurring problems with vertigo are a sign of the disease. Vertigo is the feeling of being still while the room spins around you. It happens suddenly and lasts for between 20 minutes and 24 hours.
Hearing Loss: People with the disease may have bouts of hearing loss that come and go. Eventually, most people with Meniere’s disease experience permanent loss.
Tinnitus: Tinnitus is usually described as ringing in the ear. However, it may also sound like buzzing, whistling, hiss, or roaring.
Fullness: The condition causes the ears to feel full or a feeling of pressure inside the ear or on the side of the head.
If your parent is experiencing these symptoms, ask the doctor to evaluate them for Meniere’s disease.
Elder care can help keep seniors safe during episodes of the disease. Vertigo increases the likelihood of falls. Elder care can provide assistance when the person needs to walk around, such as when they need to use the bathroom. Elder care providers can also remind your parent to take medications prescribed by the doctor. In addition, elder care can offer transportation to the doctor if follow up visits are needed.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Lafayette, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
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