As this WebMD article notes, any number of ailments can qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits. According to the story, some of the most common conditions suffered by those who collect disability include back pain, heart disease, cancer, and depression. An almost infinite number of less-common diseases can also make work impossible for those afflicted. Let’s take a closer look at one of these diseases.
Here are 5 things you may not have known about Méniére’s disease.
1. Initial symptoms of Méniére’s can vary in severity.
According to the Mayo Clinic, although the disease often presents in different ways, the four symptoms most often associated with Méniére’s are vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and a full feeling in the ears of the patient1. However, these symptoms often come and go without warning in episodes, some more severe than others. Just because a patient’s episode of vertigo subsides does not necessarily mean that patient is healthy. Be sure to see a doctor if you feel any of the above symptoms.
2. There is no test for Méniére’s.
Although doctors use certain symptomatic benchmarks to diagnose Méniére’s2, the only way they can be sure their patients are suffering from the disease is if they rule out everything else that makes sense with the symptoms. The Mayo Clinic says one benchmark doctors use to diagnose is whether a patient has suffered at least two separate, 20 minute long vertigo episodes. Because vertigo is symptomatic of many diseases in addition to Méniére’s, doctors must then rule out those conditions in order to confidently diagnose the patient with Méniére’s.
3. Although the disease can be very severe, the majority of those who suffer from Méniére’s are not perpetually disabled by the disease.
The British website, Patient.co.uk says, “There is a good chance that after a while (typically after 5-10 years) the attacks stop occurring altogether.”3 This is good news for Méniére’s sufferers, but it does not mean they should forgo treatment. Some promising medications, including Betahistine, have shown great promise in the treatment of the disease. Even the more extreme measure of inner-ear surgery has proven to be effective at times, although patients who elect this treatment are at risk of permanent hearing loss.
4. Many Méniére’s patients claim lifestyle changes can improve conditions.
Changes such as regular exercise, consuming a low-sodium diet, and quitting smoking have all anecdotally been associated with the improvement of some patients’ Méniére’s symptoms3. There is little scientific evidence to back up the claims of these patients, but healthy, positive lifestyle changes can never be a bad thing.
5. According to Wikipedia4, Charles Darwin, Marilyn Monroe, and Julius Caesar all suffered from Méniére’s.
If you worry because you may have Méniére’s and all the dreadful symptoms of the disease, at least you are in fantastic company!