Analysis: Understanding Buhari’s ear problem

How Nigerians can force Buhari to listen – Part 2

President Muhammadu Buhari is sick. This is no longer news. The president himself admitted that he has an ear problem. This is also no news.

The fact is this: The president is not suffering from an ear infection.

Let that sink!

Infections are either caused by bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi or other micro-organisms. The president’s sickness is not caused by any of these. His sickness is bigger than most people think.

Let us explain.

The President is suffering from a rare condition of the ear called Meniere’s disease.

Causes of Meniere’s disease

The cause or causes of Meniere’s disease is unknown. One popular theory that hasn’t been proved is that the disease may be as of abnormal amount of fluid in the inner ear.

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Factors that affect the fluid, which might contribute to Meniere’s disease, include: Improper fluid drainage, abnormal immune response, Allergies, Viral infection, Genetic predisposition, Head trauma or Migraines.

Because no single cause has been identified, it’s likely that Meniere’s disease results from a combination of factors.

Signs and symptoms of Meniere’s disease
  1. Recurring episodes of vertigo. Vertigo is when a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not. Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking.
  2. The individual might lose balance and fall on the floor as though he/she has epilepsy.
  3. Hearing loss. Hearing loss in Meniere’s disease may come and go, particularly early on. Eventually, most people have some permanent hearing loss.
  4. Ringing in the ear (tinnitus). Tinnitus is the perception of a ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling or hissing sound in your ear.
  5. Feeling of fullness in the ear. People with Meniere’s disease often feel pressure in the affected ears (aural fullness) or on the side of their heads.
Complications of Meniere’s disease

Episodes of vertigo and risk of permanent hearing loss can be the most difficult problems of Meniere’s disease. The disease can interrupt someone’s life and cause fatigue, emotional stress, depression and anxiety.

Vertigo can cause you to lose balance, increasing your risk of falls and accidents while driving or operating heavy machinery.

Is there a cure for Meniere’s disease?

At the present time there is no cure for Meniere’s disease, but there are ways to manage the condition and help control symptoms. Some recently refined treatments are rather close to a cure (i.e. low dose gentamicin).

How can patients manage attack episodic attack?

During an acute attack, lay down on a firm surface. Stay as motionless as possible, with eyes open and fixed on a stationary object. Do not try to drink or sip water immediately, as this might lead to vomiting.

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Stay like this until the severe vertigo (spinning) passes, then get up SLOWLY. After the attack subsides, the person may probably feel very tired and need to sleep for several hours.