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Learn The Facts About Vestibular Neuritis

October 2nd, 2011 No comments

Do you suffer from ear problems, or have trouble hearing sometimes? Does your balance seem off lately, or are you dizzy for no apparent reason? Perhaps you have vestibular neuritis, which is also called labyrinthitis. This is an affliction that affects the vestibular nerve, which resides in the middle ear. It can cause many problems, and greatly affect a person’s life in a negative way. Dizziness is the main symptom, although sometimes more severe side effects go along with it as well.

The cause of vestibular neuritis is not always very clear, although it’s sometimes brought on by a viral infection. Other causes are upper respiratory infection, flu, or sometimes even a severe cold. Middle ear infection is rarely the cause, but also a possibility.

The main problem with vestibular neuritis is that it causes a person to experience dizziness or vertigo, due to the vestibular nerve being the main proponent of balance in our brain. If wrong messages are sent to the brain that motion is occurring when in fact it is not, dizziness is the result. This can happen at any time and is very dangerous to people that have jobs where they are required to move a lot, stay in high places, or drive a vehicle. In many cases the symptoms come and go without warning.

This is a very difficult condition to diagnose as well; many people are thought to just have inner ear infections and are treated with antibiotics. After this course of treatment is finished and symptoms persist, normally an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist is required to find out the exact cause. An MRI is normally used to discover the problem, and other more serious diseases such as brain tumors need to be ruled out as well.

There are also other conditions that are sometimes mistaken for vestibular neuritis, such as benign positional vertigo which is the result of very small particles in the fluid of the inner ear. The particles loosely float around the ear canal, and disrupt the delicate balance receptors which in turn send erroneous signals to the brain. The symptoms are the same, although a slightly different cause is to blame.

What are the treatments for vestibular neuritis? In many cases, little can be done except to proved relief with antihistamines, or antibiotics if the cause is from a bacterial infection. However in many cases steroids such as prednisone are used to combat the problem, although many times no treatment is found that works. In these cases, time is they only ways to find relief – by waiting until the symptoms of vestibular neuritis go away for good.

The bottom line is, if you ever experience vertigo, dizziness, and a feeling of fullness in your inner ear on one side or the other, you should have it checked out right away. Most times it will be something easy to resolve, such as an infection or foreign matter in the ear. But since diagnosing vestibular neuritis is so difficult, be aware that further steps may be necessary to get to the truth of your inner ear problems. Don’t give up, find a doctor that is willing to find the true diagnosis no matter what.

If you suffer from severe ear problems, get help as soon as possible. It could be something very serious, possibly vestibular neuritis. Learn more by visiting us at:
Vestibular Neuritis

 

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Neuritis – Causes Symptoms and Treatment

May 5th, 2010 No comments

Neuritis is a complex process involving inflammation of the nerves, resulting in irritation that interferes with normal nerve function and the areas served. Specifically, it affects the peripheral nerves (those outside the brain, spinal cord, or central nervous system), blocking sensory and motor functions, with pronounced symptoms.

Patients with acute brachial plexus neuritis are often misdiagnosed as having cervical radiculopathy. Acute brachial plexus neuritis is an uncommon disorder characterized by severe shoulder and upper arm pain followed by marked upper arm weakness. The temporal profile of pain preceding weakness is important in establishing a prompt diagnosis and differentiating acute brachial plexus neuritis from cervical radiculopathy.

Causes

The cause of optic neuritis is unknown. Sudden inflammation of the optic nerve (the nerve connecting the eye and the brain) leads to swelling and destruction of its outer shell, called the myelin sheath. The inflammation may occasionally be the result of a viral infection, or it may be caused by autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Risk factors are related to the possible causes.

Symptoms

The main symptoms of neuritis are a tingling and burning sensation, and stabbing pains in the affected nerves. In severe cases, there may be numbness, loss of sensation, and paralysis of the nearby muscles. Thus temporary paralysis, of the face muscles may result from changes in the facial nerve on the affected side. During the acute stage of this condition, the patient may not be able to close his eyes due to a loss of normal tune and strength of the muscles on the affected side of the face.

Optic neuritis is suspected in patients with characteristic pain and vision loss. Neuroimaging, preferably with gadolinium-enhanced MRI, may show an enlarged, enhancing, optic nerve. MRI may also help diagnose multiple sclerosis. Fluid attenuating inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI sequences may show typical demyelinating lesions in a periventricular location if optic neuritis is related to demyelination.

Visual loss. The extent of visual loss associated with optic neuritis varies. Some people experience severe difficulty seeing, while others might not notice any changes in their vision. Vision loss, should it occur, usually develops over a day to a week and may be worsened by heat or exercise. Vision loss is usually temporary, but in some cases, it may be permanent.

Vestibular neuritis – in most cases, vestibular neuritis is a self-limiting condition that only occurs once in a person’s lifetime. However, some mild dizziness when moving the head may continue for several years following the infection. For the remaining five per cent or so of cases, the symptoms recur. The condition is then considered to be another type of balance disorder, such as Meniere’s syndrome or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

Treatment

Since the Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial (ONTT), doctors have discovered that treating patients with intravenous steroid medication (but not oral steroids) reduces the risk of developing MS later on. This finding is very significant since approximately 50% of those who experience an initial occurrence of optic neuritis will develop MS. While this treatment has little if any impact on vision, it is important for overall health.

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