If you've ever had a little too much to drink, you probably experienced that dizzy sensation where you feel like the room is spinning, know as vertigo in medical-ese. Unfortunately, people diagnosed with Meniere's disease don't have to drink in order to experience such debilitating dizzy spells. Vertigo episodes occur out of the blue, with no apparent cause, in some cases lasting up to eight hours. Aside from dizziness, this disease may also cause ringing in the ear (tinnitus), hearing loss, sweating, uncontrollable eye movements, and vomiting.
Sounds unbearable. To find out if you're at risk for Meniere's disease
Meniere's is a disorder of the inner ear that usually occurs in men and women in their 30s. Scientists aren't sure what causes this disease, but it may be related to any of these reasons: middle ear or respiratory infections, stress, fatigue, syphilis, Lyme disease, a history of allergies, smoking, alcohol use, or head injury. Although Meniere's is not contagious, it may be genetic.
Unfortunately, there's no known cure for Meniere's disease, but a person can help prevent dizzy episodes by lowering the endolymphatic pressure in her inner ear. To do this, medication may help, as well as stress reduction and a low-sodium, no caffeine, no alcohol diet. If symptoms become severe and the person can't work or drive, surgery may be necessary. If these symptoms sound familiar, it's best to get tested by your doctor.