Barbara, 48, a grueling executive job and a busy family life, had the bitter experience, six years ago, of an attack of rotatory vertigo with vomiting and tinnitus which left her extremely anxious.
I was worried about a neurological disease or a
“It will take a second crisis for his general practitioner to refer him to an ENT.
The practitioner confirmed Ménière's disease, named after the person who described it in the 19th century.
Patients must sometimes undergo other examinations (audiometric assessment, imaging of the inner ear) to avoid diagnostic error.
Treatment aims to reduce the frequency of attacks, their duration, their intensity, and to lengthen the remission phases.
inner ear problem
What pathology is it?
It is characterized by a dysfunction of the inner ear, which performs two functions: hearing and the vestibular function which contributes to balance
", explains Dr Yohan Ejzenberg, ENT doctor at the Rothschild Ophthalmological Foundation and the Robert-Debre Hospital.
Its exact origin is not yet known, but we know that it is secondary to an increase in the pressure of a liquid circulating in the inner ear (a phenomenon called endolymphatic hydrops).
In France, nearly 10 to 150 people per 100,000 are affected by Ménière's disease.
Like Barbara, the majority of patients are women between the ages of 40 and 60.
A hereditary component and a history of family disease come into play, but no gene has been identified.
Treatment aims to reduce the frequency of attacks, their duration and their intensity, as well as to lengthen the remission phases.
The patient must first be well informed about the syndrome, its mechanisms and triggering factors, such as stress or anxiety
", specifies Dr. Ejzenberg.
In addition to lifestyle, patients are encouraged to learn how to better manage stress or overwork.
Sophrology, yoga or meditation can be useful.
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What are the risks of deafness?
When the attacks are recurrent, the first-line treatment is based on drugs.
Several treatments can be prescribed, alone or in combination: antivertigo treatments (betahistine, acetylleucine), diuretics (furosemide, acetazolamide or glycerol)… The effectiveness is assessed according to the number of attacks and their severity.
If the evolution of the disease is variable from one person to another, the attacks, with transient effects, can sometimes leave sequelae.
In case of residual balance disorder with persistent instabilities after a crisis, vestibular rehabilitation can be beneficial
", specifies the ENT.
Hearing loss is also usually transient, but repeated seizures can lead to deafness.
In second intention, other treatments exist in the form of injections and, in the event of recalcitrant pathology, surgery is possible.
Barbara didn't have to go through that.
After several years of treatment, the crises have fortunately been spaced out with a limited sensory and professional handicap, but one certainty: violent emotions and stress at work are to be avoided.