What’s Meniere Disease? Signs and Symptoms
Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can cause vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss. While the exact cause of Meniere’s is unknown, it is believed to be related to endolymphatic hydrops, or an abnormal accumulation of inner ear fluid.
The most common symptom of Meniere’s disease is vertigo, which is a sensation of spinning or tilting even when you are still. Vertigo attacks can last for minutes to hours, and they can often be triggered by changes in head position or by stress. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is another common symptom of Meniere’s disease. Deafness may also occur as the disease progresses.
Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition, but symptoms can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to see your doctor for a diagnosis. Vestibular disorders like Meniere’s disease can be tricky to manage, but following a vestibular disorder diet can help.
What’s the Goal of Meniere’s Disease Diet?
The goal of a Meniere’s disease diet is to reduce the symptoms of the condition. This may involve avoiding certain trigger foods and beverages, such as salt, caffeine, alcohol. The diet may also include eating small meals more often throughout the day, instead of three large meals. People with Meniere disease should work with a registered dietitian to create a personalized diet plan.
Low Sodium Diet
One important lifestyle change for people with Meniere’s disease is to follow a low sodium diet. Sodium helps to regulate fluid levels in the body, and reducing sodium intake can help to reduce fluid build-up in the inner ear. Many common foods are high in salt, so it is important to read labels carefully and cook at home as much as possible. By making simple changes to your diet, you can help to relieve symptoms and manage Meniere’s disease.
How Much Sodium Is Too Much?
While there is no magic number for how much sodium is safe for people, most experts recommend limiting sodium intake to 2000 mg per day (1 teaspoon). But, since sodium is found in many foods, even those that don’t taste salty, it’s important to be aware of how much sodium you’re consuming on a daily basis.
The best way to do this is to read food labels carefully. People who suffer from Meniere’s disease should limit their salt intake to 1000 mg per day, which is half of the recommended amount for people in general. The following are some tips for reducing sodium in your diet:
- Use fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables without added salt.
- When using canned goods, rinse off the sodium with water before using.
- Use herbs and spices to flavor food instead of salt.
- Work with a registered dietitian to create a personalized diet plan.
- Limit your intake of restaurant foods, which are often high in sodium.
- Choose “low sodium” or “no salt added” versions of foods when possible.
- Avoid adding salt to food at the table.
Avoid Processed Food (Monosodium Glutamate)
One of the most important things that people with Meniere disease can do is to follow a healthy diet. Avoiding processed food is a key part of a Meniere’s disease diet. Processed food is high in salt, which can trigger vertigo attacks.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a common food additive that is used to enhance the flavor of food. However, MSG has been linked to a number of health problems, including headaches, sweating, and heart palpitations. For people with Meniere’s disease, MSG can trigger vertigo attacks.
Drink Adequate Amounts of Fluid
One of the primary goals of the Meniere’s disease diet is to prevent dehydration, as dehydration can trigger vertigo attacks. It is also important to avoid caffeine and alcohol intake, as these substances can dehydrate the body and make symptoms worse.
Alcohol is thought to increase endolymphatic hydrops by promoting the release of vasopressin, a hormone that promotes fluid retention. Caffeine, on the other hand, is thought to stimulate the release of endolymph, leading to an increased pressure in the inner ear.
Meniere’s Disease Diet – General Guidelines
The general guidelines for the Meniere’s disease diet are as follows:
- Eat small meals more often throughout the day, instead of three large meals.
- Distribute your food intake evenly throughout the day, and from day to day.
- Avoid trigger foods and beverages, such as salt, caffeine, alcohol, and foods high in sugar.
- Aim for a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in canned, frozen, and processed foods.
- Drink adequate amounts of fluid daily (water, milk, and low-sugar fruit juices). Coffee, tea, and soft drinks should not be counted as part of this intake.
- Keeping a food / drink diary for a period of time may allow you to identify specific foods or fluids that worsen your disease.
Other Treatment Options
In addition to following a Meniere’s disease diet, there are other treatment options that may help reduce the symptoms of the condition.
There are a number of different medicines that can be used to treat the symptoms of Meniere’s disease. These include:
- diuretics: these help reduce the amount of fluid in the inner ear;
- antiemetics: these help relieve nausea and vomiting;
- antihistamines: these can help reduce dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Surgery is another treatment option for Meniere’s disease. The goal of surgery is to relieve the build-up of pressure in the inner ear. There are a number of different surgical procedures that can be used, and the type of surgery that is performed will depend on the individual case.
If you have Meniere’s disease, it is important to work with your doctor to create a treatment plan that is right for you. In some cases, a combination of lifestyle changes, medicine, and surgery may be necessary to manage the symptoms of the condition. Meniere’s disease diet can be helpful in managing the symptoms of Meniere’s disease and may help you feel better overall, but be sure to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
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