Karin & David Henderson

21362 River Road

Maple Ridge, B.C.

Canada V2X 2B3

604-463-8666 (PST)

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What Finally Worked For David's Meniere's Disease Symptoms
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Testing and Diagnosis
The Possible Causes
Hearing Loss
Ear Pain and Pressure
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Coping Together as a Family
What Is a  Proper Diet
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Histamine, Antihistamine and Allergies
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Histamine Definitions and Related Links:



Histamine: “Substance that plays a major role in many allergic reactions. Histamine dilates blood vessels and makes the vessel walls abnormally permeable.”

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary


Immune response

Medline Medical Encyclopedia says “An efficient immune response protects against many diseases and disorders. An inefficient immune response allows diseases to develop. Inadequate, inappropriate, or excessive immune response causes immune system disorders.


The immune response is how your body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses, and substances that appear foreign and harmful to the body.


Allergic reaction

“The immune system normally responds to harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses and toxins by producing symptoms such as runny nose and congestion, post-nasal drip and sore throat, and itchy ears and eyes. An allergic reaction can produce the same symptoms in response to substances that are generally harmless, like dust, dander or pollen. The sensitized immune system produces antibodies to these allergens, which cause chemicals called histamines to be released into the bloodstream, causing itching, swelling of affected tissues, mucus production, hives, rashes, and other symptoms. Symptoms vary in severity from person to person.



Again, Medline states “The immune system protects the body from potentially harmful substances by recognizing and responding to antigens. Antigens are molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, or bacteria. Nonliving substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles (such as a splinter) can be antigens. The immune system recognizes and destroys substances that contain these antigens.”



Mosby’s also describes an antigen as a “substance usually a protein that the body recognizes as foreign and that can evoke an immune response.” So you can see that they don’t seem to be too different and for our purposes, let’s say they cause the body to react: to produce histamine.


An antigen is a substance that can provoke an immune response. Typically antigens are substances not usually found in the body.




Mosby’s’ describes an allergen as a “common environmental substance that can produce a hypersensitive allergic reaction in the body, but is not intrinsically (naturally) harmful. Common substances are pollen, animal, dander, house dust, feathers, and various foods.”


An allergen is a substance that can cause an allergic reaction. Allergens are substances that, in some people, the immune system recognizes as "foreign" or "dangerous" but cause no response for most people.


Anaphylactic reaction

A life-threatening complication is anaphylaxis, a severe, whole-body allergic reaction that can result in death. While people with oral allergy syndrome rarely have an anaphylactic reaction, they should ask their doctor whether they need to carry injectable epinephrine.


Anaphylactic reaction

“The body's immune system normally reacts to the presence of toxins, bacteria or viruses by producing a chemical reaction to fight these invaders. However, sometimes the immune system reacts to ordinarily benign substances such as food or pollen, to which it has become sensitive. This overreaction can cause symptoms from the mild (hives) to the severe (anaphylactic shock) upon subsequent exposure to the substance. An actual food allergy, as opposed to simple intolerance due to the lack of digesting enzymes, is indicated by the production of antibodies to the food allergen, and by the release of histamines and other chemicals into the blood.


Steroids: corticosteroids

These steroids are similar to hormones that your adrenal glands produce to fight stress associated with illnesses and injuries. They reduce inflammation and affect the immune system.


Excellent corticosteroids site


As with all our information, please use this only to educate yourself. It is not meant to be a diagnostic or treatment tool. There are several other resources at the end to help you learn more. There are also many links along the way. I purposefully included definitions as you really need to understand the medical terminology.


If I can help you learn how the body works and reacts in different situations, with simplified words or word pictures, you can control your own health much better. Your common sense can guide you.


I was first introduced to the “histamine” term in relation to Meniere’s Disease by a reader who asked me about a “histamine diet”. From all I knew about histamine, I felt I would not want anyone on such a “diet”. In retrospect, I think this name is a misnomer and is misleading. But the concept behind it is very important to understand.


Histamine has far reaching effects. Anyone who has ever dealt with allergies is always on the lookout for the cause of increased histamine levels. That is what anaphylaxis is all about. It’s what you are always trying to prevent! I doubt that many people outside of the medical community know what it does and how it affects your body: why you do need to know about it. Toward the end I will comment on the “histamine diet”.


Here is one very important underlying idea. Nothing EVER happens in your body without a cause. And every cause has an effect: one or more (signs & symptoms). Please keep this in mind as you read on. Start challenging yourself to look at any symptoms (good and bad) and ask yourself why this has happened. Also recognize that our traditional health care ideology focuses on treating symptoms: “effects” of the cause. Relatively little is done to look for the underlying cause.  (That’s usually our fault: we don’t like to be uncomfortable. Therefore “please give me something to take away the pain, or itchiness, etc.”) We want instant solutions and comfort.


By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.



Additional Information


If you would like to know more about the system we talk about throughout the site, please use this link to go to the Meniere's System Information page.

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