HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Amanda Jarrett is the 5 o'clock news producer at WAFF 48 News. Her job entails quick thinking and decision making. For years she thought a simple ailment was weighing her down.
"It all started about four years ago with dizzy spells, and I honestly thought it was allergies or sinus issues," said Jarrett.
For some patients these symptoms can be life changing.
Some events sent her home from work. She was given a steroid shot and sent to bed. After several doctor visits and different remedies she was sent to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. He was able to put a name on it: Meniere's disease. That diagnosis was a relief.
"You know I have anxiety as well, and so there were points in time when I thought some of my minor dizzy spells were just anxiety attacks," added Jarrett.
The label meant it was her body and not in her head.
"It meant a complete lifestyle change. It meant low sodium," she said.
She was also put on a diuretic - common step, according to her doctor, William Scott McCarey, an Otolaryngologist.
"It's a fluid imbalance in the inner ear that can cause a variety of symptoms. The most common symptom is vertigo or a dizzy sensation," said McCarey.
Vertigo can be serious causing falls, vomiting, and more. He said the patient will need to go to bed until it passes.
"Other common symptoms are a ringing or a roaring in the ear and a pressure or fullness feeling in the ear," McCarey added.
Even hearing loss can be a symptom. The idea is to alleviate the fluid, and that cannot be done with tubes.
Diet and diuretics are the first methods. Diet means salt.
"Fifteen hundred to 2,000 milligrams a day or less. Caffeine also seems to aggravate the symptoms. So we ask people to cut back on their caffeine intake. And then to a lesser extent, alcohol and nicotine can aggravate the symptoms," added the Otolaryngologist.
He said 95 percent of patients can control this disease with diet and fluid tablets. Some may need a special steroid procedure or even surgery, but those are rare.