Actually, I too have Meniere's. Was diagnosed in January 2009, though looking back, had some of the symptoms for a year or two prior. There are differing levels of Meniere's from just a touch of it where you function ok without medicine to that of severe, where you fall down a lot and pass out from the dizziness. Where do you fall with the Meniere's?
As for myself, I am in between. For the longest time, I had my left ear feel like it was always infected, fullness and a ringing in the ear. I kept getting dismissed with it, until I had a week with repeated Meniere's episodes, one dizzy spell after another, where I couldn't eat, couldn't stand up without assistance and just had to lay down and be still as the whole room was spinning. I went to my Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT or otolaryngologist), and he did a hearing test on me and suspected an inner ear episode, which you can have one episode and then clear up and have no further problems. He stated if it never came back it was an inner ear episode, if it came back it was Meniere's. Anyhow, my hearing showed a decrease in one ear that day and sadly, three months later, had another episode with further decreased hearing and a diagnosis of Meniere's.
At that point I was put on a diuretic daily and told to strictly watch my salt. I went to see an inner ear specialist in our area that actually specializes in treating Meniere's, vertigo, etc. So he uped my diuretic to two pills a day and stay on the low sodium diet around 1500 mg to 2000 mg a day.
After a couple of weeks, the diuretic kicked in, as it pulls fluid off the inner ear where there is less fullness, less dizziness, etc. But, the key is the low sodium diet. I find that I do best when I stick to 1500 mg of sodium a day, though on very good days, can get away with a little more, though not often. I make sure I stay between 500 to 800 mg per meal.
The best way to keep the sodium low is to read all labels, cook from scratch and definitely drink a lot of water to help flush the sodium from your system. If I dare get a touch to much sodium, I get dizzy, nauseated and unbalanced on my feet quickly. I guess as a result of the Meniere's I am now sodium sensitive.
I was first overwhelmed by trying to keep the sodium low, but the more I researched, the more I started cooking from scratch and being aware of all sodium out there, including those found in nature (fresh fruits and veggies), plus planning carefully when going out to eat (which is hard to do with Meniere's, but not impossible), I started feeling better.
Another downfall of Meniere's is that you might feel drained from energy. I asked my specialist about this and he said it is common with the disease, as your good ear is overcompensating for the loss of balance in your bad ear and using up more energy as a result, thus draining you. I asked what I could do to help with this and believe it or not, he said exercise and pushing through on days you feel bad will help. Though he recommended a treadmill or stationary bike to do these things and resist anything that requires a lot of head bobbing, as that only aggrevates the problem. So if I am out and about and wanting to walk the malls or grocery stores, I grab a cart to steady myself and walk or luckily, my son is still young enough that he can sit in a stroller and let me push while I walk.
Sorry to be long winded about this. Hopefully some of this information helps. Feel free to ask questions, share comments, etc. here on the posts or write me personally. I know there are a couple of us on here that have Meniere's, as well as other issues. But, we are all in this together and reducing the sodium in the diet definitely helps!
Member of Living Healthy with Insulin Resistance/Low GI Diet Team
Member of Lowering Salt Intake Team
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