IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


9th September, 2023 Health

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Picture Courtesy: www.hillandponton.com

Context: Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung experienced a collapse on stage due to Meniere's disease. Meniere's disease is a challenging condition to manage, particularly for individuals in professions that require them to be on stage or in situations where sudden bouts of vertigo can be dangerous.


  • Meniere's disease is believed to be caused by a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, known as the labyrinth. This fluid buildup can disrupt the normal balance and hearing signals that are transmitted between the inner ear and the brain.



  • Vertigo is the most prominent and distinctive symptom of Meniere's disease. It is a sudden and intense sensation of spinning or whirling, making it feels like the person or their surroundings are in motion even when they are not.
  • Vertigo episodes can vary in duration and severity and are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. These attacks can be incapacitating and may require individuals to lie down until they pass.

Hearing Issues

  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a persistent ringing, buzzing, or roaring sound in the ears. It is a common symptom of Meniere's disease and can be bothersome and distracting.
  • Hearing Loss: Individuals with Meniere's disease may experience varying degrees of hearing loss. This hearing loss can fluctuate, and over time, it may become more pronounced. Hearing loss in Meniere's disease often affects the low-frequency sounds initially and may progress to involve higher frequencies as well.

Anxiety and Depression

  • The unpredictable nature of vertigo attacks and the impact of hearing problems on daily life can lead to emotional and psychological challenges. Many individuals with Meniere's disease experience anxiety and stress, especially when they fear the onset of a vertigo episode. Additionally, the frustration and social isolation resulting from hearing problems can contribute to feelings of depression.

Affected Population

  • Age of Onset: Meniere's disease can indeed develop at any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60. However, cases have been reported in younger individuals and occasionally in children as well.
  • Rare Condition: Meniere's disease is considered a relatively rare condition. In the United States, an estimated 615,000 people are affected by Meniere's disease. Given the U.S. population of more than 330 million, this represents a small percentage of the overall population. This rarity can make diagnosis and management challenging, as healthcare providers may have limited experience with the condition.
  • Genetic Component: While the exact cause of Meniere's disease remains unclear, there is evidence to suggest a genetic predisposition in some cases. Approximately 7-10% of individuals with Meniere's disease have a family history of the disorder. This genetic link suggests that there may be inherited factors that contribute to the development of Meniere's disease in certain individuals.

Impact of Meniere's disease on individuals

  • Quality of Life: Meniere's disease can greatly impact an individual's quality of life. The unpredictable nature of vertigo attacks can disrupt daily activities, making it difficult to work, travel, or even perform routine tasks without fear of sudden dizziness.
  • Emotional and Psychological Effects: The chronic nature of Meniere's disease, along with its associated symptoms and limitations, can lead to emotional and psychological challenges. Many individuals with Meniere's disease experience anxiety, stress, and depression, particularly because they are often unsure when the next vertigo attack might occur.
  • Social Isolation: Due to the fear of vertigo attacks and the difficulty in communication caused by hearing problems, people with Meniere's disease may become socially isolated. They may avoid social gatherings, public places, and even social interactions with family and friends.
  • Hearing Loss: Hearing loss is a common symptom of Meniere's disease, and it can have a profound effect on an individual's ability to communicate effectively. This can lead to difficulties in relationships, work, and everyday activities.
  • Financial Burden: Managing Meniere's disease may require ongoing medical appointments, treatments, and the purchase of hearing aids or assistive devices. These expenses can create a financial burden for individuals and their families.
  • Treatment Side Effects: Some medications used to manage Meniere's disease symptoms may have side effects that can further impact an individual's well-being.

Cure and Treatment

  • No Cure: Meniere's disease is a chronic condition for which there is currently no cure. This makes it essential to focus on managing the symptoms and improving the quality of life for affected individuals.
  • Treatment options for Meniere's disease often include:
    • Dietary Changes: Dietary modifications, such as reducing salt intake, can help manage fluid retention in the inner ear, potentially reducing the frequency and severity of vertigo attacks.
    • Medication: Medications can be prescribed to control vertigo and nausea during episodes. These medications may include anti-vertigo drugs and antiemetics.
    • Hearing Aids: For individuals with hearing loss, hearing aids or cochlear implants can be beneficial in improving communication and overall quality of life.
    • Surgical Interventions: In severe cases or when conservative treatments are ineffective, surgical procedures may be considered. These procedures aim to address the fluid buildup in the inner ear, and options include endolymphatic sac decompression or vestibular nerve section.
  • Emotional and Psychological Support: Managing Meniere's disease can be emotionally and psychologically challenging due to its unpredictable nature and the impact on daily life. Seeking support from mental health professionals, such as counsellors, can help individuals cope with anxiety, depression, and stress related to the condition.
  • Support Groups: Joining support groups for Meniere's disease can provide individuals with a valuable sense of community and shared experiences. These groups offer opportunities to learn from others who are dealing with similar challenges and to exchange coping strategies.
  • Individualized Treatment Plans: Each person's experience with Meniere's disease is unique, and treatment plans should be tailored to their specific needs and symptoms. Regular follow-up with healthcare providers is essential to monitor the progression of the condition and adjust treatment strategies as necessary.


  • Meniere's disease is a chronic and complex condition that requires a holistic approach to management. While there is no cure, individuals can work with healthcare professionals to develop personalized treatment plans that address both the physical and emotional aspects of the disease, ultimately aiming to improve their quality of life and well-being.


Q. Consider the following statements in the context of the Meniere's Disease:

1. Meniere's disease is a chronic bone disorder.

2. The exact cause of Meniere's disease is not well understood.

3. Meniere's disease typically affects individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 years.

4. There is no cure for Meniere's disease.

How many of the above statement is/are correct?

A) Only one

B) Only two

C) Only three

D) All four

Answer: C


Statement 1 is incorrect: Meniere's disease is a chronic inner ear disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of vertigo (a spinning sensation), along with symptoms such as hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the affected ear.

Statement 2 is correct: The exact cause of Meniere's disease is not well understood, but it is thought to be related to abnormal fluid buildup in the inner ear, specifically in the labyrinth, which contains the organs responsible for balance and hearing.

Statement 3 is correct: Meniere's disease typically affects individuals between the ages of 40 and 60, although it can develop at any age.

Statement 4 is correct: While there is no cure for Meniere's disease, treatment options focus on managing symptoms and improving the individual's quality of life. Treatment may include dietary changes (reducing salt intake), medications to control vertigo and nausea, hearing aids or cochlear implants for hearing loss, and in severe cases, surgical interventions to address fluid buildup.