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Karin & David Henderson

21362 River Road

Maple Ridge, B.C.

Canada V2X 2B3

604-463-8666 (PST)

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Testing and Diagnosis
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Meniere's Disease, Hypertension and Stress: A Different Way of Looking at How They Could Be Connected

I had a very interesting and thought-provoking request a little while ago. The gentleman (I will call him Bill) had gone to his doctor about his Meniere's Disease symptoms. In the course of the conversation, it became apparent that he was under some stress and he may have hypertension - his blood pressure was a bit elevated.

He left with a prescription for an antihypertensive drug and the understanding that there was nothing much to be done for his Meniere's Disease symptoms. A relative also had Meniere's Disease. So it was also alluded to Bill that this condition was probably hereditary.

Bill did receive what I perceive to be the traditional medical treatment. His doctor was obviously trying to prevent possible cardiac problems.

As usual, and specifically in this case, I am going to ask you not to use this information except for your own learning and thinking. Please do not diagnose yourself. what I am proposing is a different set of questions to ask. That might be a bit contrary to what you normally do. This is thinking outside traditional or routine “box”.

This is also NOT meant to offend any health care professional. I simply want you to challenge your thinking: to rely on your own powers of deduction and observation. In fact I want to turn this whole idea upside down.

Let’s discuss Hypertension, Meniere's Disease, and Stress individually and then as a combination or related group. I am using a regular medically-acceptable site called Medline.

If you don’t already use it, I would urge you to do so for your own research when you need some easy-to-understand descriptions. The encyclopedia section is the best area for this purpose.

To search for Hypertension on Medline, please click here.

Hypertension

Hypertension is recognized when the top number in a “blood pressure” reading is 140 (systolic) and higher and the bottom number is 90 and higher (diastolic). That is considered high blood pressure: “hypertension” in medical terminology. Nowadays some doctors feel normal blood pressure should be lower than that and many doctors feel a drug to prevent higher pressure from developing, is in order.

Some doctors try to find the underlying causes: many give prescriptions more readily. Your doctor may recommend and encourage lifestyle changes including weight loss, exercise, and nutritional changes, especially a reduction in the use of salt. Salt is seen as retaining fluids and is suspect as a possible contributor to hypertension.

Here is an article that gives you more information about hypertension.  Usually, high blood pressure has no symptoms at all, but in my experience, many people have tinnitus or ringing in the ear at higher levels.

Meniere's Disease is not a household name…

Until it visits and resides in your homeIn order to understand and appreciate Meniere's Disease, you have to know the classic symptoms. They include

Meniere's Disease is also involved in some controversy as to its' name(s) and treatments. So I will stay with the traditional mainstream symptoms and suggested treatment.

If you are interested in how we have been living with Meniere's disease in our home, our son wrote an article about how we dealt with this as a family.

Stress

Stress is defined as Anxiety; Feeling uptight; Stress; Tension; Jitters; Apprehension.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003211.htm

“Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or anxious. What is stressful to one person is not necessarily stressful to another. Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension or fear. The source of this uneasiness is not always known or recognized, which can add to the distress you feel.”

How Meniere's Disease, Hypertension and Stress Work Together and Cause Some of Your Symptoms or Even Trigger Attacks

In case you have never heard of Meniere's Disease before, I want to give you a tiny bit of insight through this article. At the beginning, I mentioned Bill’s visit to his doctor. He had already had his Meniere's Disease symptoms for some time.

Put yourself into his shoes….  What if… you started to feel dizzy occasionally, and maybe had some unpleasant buzzing in your ear. And sometimes your ear would feel full as though it had water in it. It was annoying and you couldn’t get rid of it. And these feelings would come once in a while and then disappear for a long time.

Suddenly one day, you had to grasp the edge of your desk to steady yourself and someone had to drive you home or to Emergency. Normal? I don’t think so. Scary? Yes, Very. Your doctor or the hospital staff asked you questions and you really had no answers.

Eventually you would go home and life continued. But every once in a while you still have this dizziness and pressure and your hearing comes and goes. And this goes on for months or days… or even years. Could this be worrisome? Could it be stressful? Could this stress lead to increasing your blood pressure over time?

Let’s look at these two Meniere's disease symptoms a little more closely - Dizziness and Vertigo

If you are suddenly faced with mild or severe vertigo, chances are you would find it difficult to handle your job or your responsibilities.

  • Sometimes this spinning is so strong it throws you to the ground!
  • Sometimes you feel so dizzy and bump into things that people think you are drunk or on drugs.

Then you have hearing fluctuation which means one minute you can hear well and the next you can’t hear anything or a just a little bit. Then there is the tinnitus.  This pertains to noise of any sort: from strong sounds to buzzing. Part of a day. Sometimes. Occasionally.  Or constantly in different tones. One ear or both ears.

Do you think this could be stressful for you?

  • Could it maybe raise your blood pressure?
  • Would you like to be told you have to live with this for the rest of your life?
  • Would you maybe get a bit concerned about your future?
  • Could you ask yourself “why”?

Why would something come and go, with no apparent reason. Or could there be a reason? And what could possibly have any connection to things you were doing one moment or day… and not again for a while… or very frequently and then not again for a year? Or several years? Sometimes for 15 years! Would it be possible that something made you dizzy? And why would someone get dizzy? What part of the body gives you that symptom or even causes the Meniere's disease attack?

This all has to do the balance nerve. And this nerve is situated in the inner ear and is located close to the hearing nerve, also in the inner ear. Let’s look at hearing fluctuation. What would give you any symptoms? Anything that irritates, disturbs, or influences that (hearing) nerve. (That may also go for the balance nerve, but not necessarily.)

  • Do you think any of this might give you additional stress?
  • Is there anything you can do about the symptoms so you don’t get them and have to deal with these unpleasant feelings?
  • Do you think that any two nerves that are so close together might also be disturbed by the same thing?

I would like to encourage you to search for more conditions or things that might possibly contribute to having these symptoms of Meniere's disease.

Did you know that some dental work or sinus conditions can make you dizzy and also create a lot of pressure? Did you realize that if your ear was already sensitive, any vibrations such as using an electric toothbrush could set off similar symptoms? Or artificial sweeteners? Or exposure to mold and other possible toxins such as time-release fertilizers?

Many drugs list tinnitus or dizziness as a side effect. And here is a huge potential “problem” creator…amalgam fillings. They are the mercury or silver ones.

So my final question might be… then how could a drug for high blood pressure help you cope with your Meniere's disease symptoms? Just asking…. could there be another way of tackling Bill’s problems? Oops! That was another question. But my point is this. Could there be another reason for Bill’s elevated blood pressure that could also be triggering his Meniere's disease attacks or his symptoms? Could there be another way of looking at this problem? Things are often not what they first appear to be.

Just as I am finishing this article I spoke with a lady who had asked me to check out a drug her doctor prescribed. She was suffering from dizziness and vertigo and tinnitus. Guess what the side effects of the drug were.

Many of these chemicals don’t belong to your body “naturally”. Could it be that your body is reacting to them? The term “side effect” is there for a reason. To get a good sampling of information, you may want to do your own research by checking out several sites and while you are in each one, see who the sponsors are.  Can you now see a connection with hypertension, Meniere's disease and stress?

If any one of these conditions is a part of your life, take control by asking questions that are not the normal, expected ones to ask. Ask yourself how all this ties together. Your answers will always come as long as you persevere in your search.

It is your body. No one can ever describe how dizziness and tinnitus affect you. It is a very personal and stressful “always on guard” lifestyle. Could it possibly elevate your blood pressure? Probably. Are their possible solutions?

Only you will find that answer, but it won’t come about until you start your search and then it may take time. Is it worth it? From the comments I receive, it is the only thing to do.

By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.

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