What is Meniere's Disease?
Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that results in hearing and balance related symptoms. Meniere’s disease involves the development of endolymphatic hydrops.
Endolymphatic hydrops is believed to be an excess of fluid in the vestibular (balance) and cochlear (hearing) apparatus of the inner ear, causing damage to the vestibular and cochlear structures. This damage is physical with increased pressure on structures causing dysfunctional changes.
There is also chemical damage, with altered potassium levels affecting the function of the membranes. The damage progresses over time with each repeated episode of Meniere’s disease, and ultimately results in significant loss of balance and hearing in some people.
Stages of Meniere's Disease
The symptoms of Meniere’s disease change over time. Three general stages have been identified:
Diagnosis of Meniere's Disease
There are some conditions that may mimic or present similarly to Meniere’s disease and need to be ruled out. The typical tests that may need to be performed include:
Meniere’s disease is usually diagnosed around late thirties to early fifties. It is uncommon for children to be diagnosed.
Management of Meniere's Disease
Currently there is no known medical cure for Meniere’s disease. The condition can however be managed to some degree with the following: