|Pic courtesy of nickmilton.com|
It is the age old discussion surrounding Meniere's disease. What causes it? As I enter the second half of my 23rd year with this disease, we seem no closer to that answer than we were when first diagnosed.
There seems to be 4 main ideas that keep coming to the surface as to the "cause" of Meniere's disease: auto-immune disorder, genetic, virus, or inflammation.
While each one has some merit, I honestly don't believe any one single thing can be ruled as the ultimate cause. I honestly see too many contradictory things in each of them to be the absolute cause for all of it. This has been my belief since the very beginning. There is a reason that nearly every reputable source of information states "there is no known cause, there is no known cure."
I have spent a fair amount of time researching the possible links. Every time I think there may be one, I try to apply it to my life and come up empty.
There has been no shortage of others in my life that have tried to connect the dots. Both welcome and unwelcome.
One of the methods I have chosen to attempt to deal with the symptoms is Chiropractic. I'm a realist. No cure means no cure. I never had any false hopes of it "curing" me over the years. Provide some benefit? Yes.
I certainly can tell when my neck is "out" and a trip to him does relieve the pressure. Anything that promotes health is a good thing.
Recently I had an appointment and the regular Dr. was not in, but his partner was. It had been a long time since I had him give an adjustment. He was in a fairly talkative mood and the talk came around to my having Meniere's disease. He asked if I had researched the disease, I said yes. Then he said that his best feeling about the whole issue is that it is either viral or fungal in nature. The other thoughts, to him, just don't add up.
He mentioned that he has seen some pretty nasty things happen because of fungal infections in the human body. It would explain, to him, why just the inner ear was attacked.
Then he said that even if that is the case, the fact remains that there is no cure. He basically said "guess what? You have something nasty that you are stuck with." Again, no cure.
The nature of viral and fungal infections plays into this conclusion. It is a very rare case where a virus lives forever. Typically they come, do their damage, and die off. What you are left with is the consequences of having it. In my case, Meniere's disease.
I certainly didn't go in thinking that there would be a cure, and my regular Chiropractor has stated as much as well. It is sometimes a bit refreshing to hear things from a different perspective. I have always tended to lean towards an autoimmune issue in the cause of this disease. For some reason the body decides to attack itself, in this case, the inner ear. The thought of an outside force, such as viral has bounced around, but the problem I have with that is there are millions of people exposed to the same viruses, why are so few affected in the same way? Viruses are generally not selective in who they attack. The difference comes from the individuals response to the virus. There needs to be an underlying reason that only 1 in 10,000 end up with Meniere's disease when certainly all 10,000 must get exposed at some point. Is that the genetic component? Not actually having the Meniere's gene, but having some flaw in our immune system to fend off the virus that causes it?
Unfortunately, the answer may not be found in my lifetime. Then again, it may.
In the meantime, the debate will continue, and the leading candidate for its root cause will shift as the newest research discovers new potential links.
And those of us with the illness will still be left with more questions than answers.
'Til next time
Just a guy trying to live with an invisible, potentially debilitating illness