Success - no more dizziness!

Discussion in 'Your Living Room' started by charleston, Oct 23, 2006.

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  1. charleston

    charleston New Member

    I've been looking for a way to share my story, in hopes that others can glean some help from it.

    Interestingly, I was diagnosed with Meniere's thirty years ago, had a couple of years of moderate symptoms, and then was sympton free until four years ago, when it returned. I had just lost a lot of weight when the symptoms returned, which I realized later only added to the problem.

    When I first started searching the internet, books, etc. for help, I would never have recognized that these were my problems. (As one doctor pointed out, this syndrome is just a list of symptoms, not a known cause.) So please read this with an open mind. Some of this could help you, too.

    After three years of going to lots of doctors, eliminating food after food, trying every supplement I could find, changing many habits, I finally figured out that FOOD SENSITIVITIES and REACTIVE HYPOGLYCEMIA were causing my symptoms (and still can cause them if I'm not careful about my diet).
    I lost even more weight when I cut out so many foods, during my exploratory phase, but that only made things worse. With little body fat for my body to use, I needed more insulin, which caused more ear problems.

    Now, I avoid wheat, egg yolks, dairy and corn, and I eat a hypoglycemic diet, which means I eat several small meals a day, with a good balance of proteins, good fats and carbs. I never eat carbs alone, but always add a protein to slow down the sugars.
    I haven't been dizzy in almost a year. Unfortunately, damage was permanent to one ear and I have significant hearing loss in that one ear. I also have noise in that ear, but when my blood sugar is low, it gets louder, so it's actually an excellent barometer.
    I'm back to having a normal life. I drive now with confidence, not fearing that I'll get stuck (like I did once in a Sam's, with a policewoman having to help me). I always have a protein bar with me.
    Unfortunately, I've put back on all the weight I lost. (Couldn't I have stopped somewhere inbetween???) But I'm much healthier and happier now. (Low blood sugar causes feelings of depression, fogginess and/or irritability.) This good eating plan will help my overall health too.

    A doctor at Duke told me that 20% of the population has reactive hypoglycemia and that it's a variant of normal. Maybe that's true for most people, but for me, and for some others I know, the changes in blood sugar somehow aggravate the ear and cause the Meniere's symptoms.
    Also, I found that one reading of your blood sugar can't show the whole picture. A doctor cannot diagnose or rule this out with one insulin test. In reactive hypoglycemia, your blood sugar goes too high, then a delayed insulin reaction produces too much insulin, and then your blood sugar plummets. Just the rapid drop can cause my symptons, thus my goal is to keep my blood sugar as even as possible. I also find that my blood sugar doesn't have to be very low for me to have symptoms. Readings in the 80's are low enough to produce them.
    I finally had a five-hour glucose test, which also tests the insulin levels, to diagnose the hypoglycemia. Even then several very nice doctors could not "connect the dots" between the Meniere's, the hypoglycemia and the food senstivies. I had to figure that out on my own, but since I did realize that they were all connected, I have successfully controlled those horrible dizzy spells. When I was dizzy, the last thing I would have done was to eat, but that's exactly what was needed.
    Please consider this in your case, and good luck!
  2. Mya46

    Mya46 Knowledge is POWER!

    Excellent post!

  3. cbwinters01

    cbwinters01 New Member

    Congratulations Charleston, and thank you for your post!
  4. Rick

    Rick New Member

    ...Thanks for the excellant post. Hopefully some of the others will stop by and let you know that many of us have found out the same thing. It especially helps when someone like yourself comes by and validates what many of us have found. I have eliminated gluten (wheat and oats) and found that reactive hypoglycemia was triggering vertigo and dizziness.
    ...I too originally followed the hypoglycemic diet and like yourself put a lot of weight back on. It was then I discoveredthe Glycemic index and since following that diet, I can now go long periods of time without eating with no ill effects. To add to your story:
    ...When carbohydrates are metabolised rapidily the spike in blood sugar causes a spike in unsulin. Due to insulin resistance, the more than enough insulin is released and results in the blood sugar falling too far. When our metabolism is functioning normally, the pancreas releases Glucagon when blood sugar drops to a certain level. Glucagon reverses the insulin process and changes glycogen back into blood sugar to keep levels in the normal range. if there is too much insulin, this process will not take place and blood sugar continues to drop. This either results in the hypoglycemia response or a "reactive hypoglycemia response". Reactive hypoglycemia means that the adrenal gland has taken over the blood sugar regulation and it's the adrenal hormones that give us the jittery feeling.
    ...The glycemic index is no more than a rating of carbohydrates based on how fast they are metabolized. The slower a carb is metabolized, the lower the blood sugar response is and the less insulin spike is. By limiting the insulin response, the pancreas will then start releasing glucagon again and thus avoiding the reactive hypoglycemia. Eating foods that have a high glycemic index is like performing the OGTT on ourselves.
    ...Like the OGTT, the glycemic index was derived the same way. People in the test group were told to fast for a given period of time and then given a certain amount of a particular carb to eat and then blood sugar and insulin was checked over the next few hours. The results were then compared to the glucose response (that's what's actually given inthe OGTT) and given a number. Potaoes normally spike the blood sugar at a rate that is 80% of an equal amount of glucose and therefore has a rating of 80 on the glycemic index.
    ...The glycemic response of a meal is a function of the different types of foods eaten and the amounts. Eating a baked potato by itself is going to have more of a response than eating mashed potatoes with other foods that are lower on the GI.
    ...An interesting finding from the studies were that white starches (potatoes, rice, and breads) spike the blood sugar more than table sugar. Since following this eating plan, I quit gaining the weight and can go 8 to 10 hours without eating(if I choose) with no ill effects. I actually lost about 20 pounds when I first went on the plan and have been at my constant weight for over a year now. The GI is not a weight loss or an low carb diet, it's just a diet that helps prevent our blood sugar from getting out of control thus preventing the insulin spikes and thus the reactive hypoglycemia.
    ...Some other benefits that I have achieved is that my voice recognition has improved tremendously and my actual hearing loss has improve from a 50 db loss to a 30 db loss. But at least the sounds I do hear are not distorted any more. I also saw my blood pressure drop from 135/80 to 118/75. I also saw my triglycerides drop from 350 to 97. So many other health benefits can be received from controlling the Hyperinsulinemia that is causing the reactive hypoglycemia.
    ...One thing to be careful of is that when altering your diet, make sure you don't eliminate certain vitamins and minerals. When I reduced my potatoes, I also reduced my potassium and had to start eating other high potassium foods. I've noticed that potassium seems to have an effect on my BPPV type symptoms that I sometimes get. Here's a link to more info on the GI
  5. summerbreeze

    summerbreeze New Member

    Dear Charleston
    My better half was told he has MM about 6 months ago. this has been very hard on him. we are trying anything and everything. I was very supriesd too read your post about food's and your insulin.I had been wondering myself if there was a i know. what I would like too know is when is the best time to check the blood? Not long ago I bought a tester and the strips. We dont know much about what is a good reading and what's you think it would be best too test when he is haveing attack or at any time?

    Thank you
  6. Rick

    Rick New Member

    ...With reactive hypoglycemia, blood tests will usually read normal. When blood sugar starts to drop either glucagon or adrenal hormones will keep blood sugar in the normal range. It just that when we get into the adrenal hormone stage that the vertigo and dizziness hits. The Oral Glucose Tollerance Test is the only test to diagnose reactive hypoglycemia.
    ...In my own case, if I got a vertigo attack right after eating I knew it was a food allergy. If I skipped a meal and started getting dizziness and/or vertigo, and the longer I went without eating the worse the attack got, and if the attack stopped if I ate something, then I knew it was the reactive hypoglycemia.
  7. charleston

    charleston New Member

    Glad to hear that others already know about this connection and agree.
    In response to Summerbreez's question:
    It seems that Rick understands this whole process very well. I'm going to study what he has written. It's very complicated for a nonmedical person to understand.
    I did check my blood sugar, using a monitor, quite a bit when I was figuring out my situation. And I still use one occasionally to prove a point to myself or to verify my symptoms.
    When my blood sugar gets too low, which for me is in the 80's, my vision blurs, my ear noise is louder leading to a pulsating sound, my noise tingles (I'm the only person I've heard of with this symptom, but it absolutely happens every time,) and my head tightens, like a band is around it. Actually I rarely let it get to this last symptom.
    So, yes, I'd use the monitor to see your significan't other's pattern. Diabetics check before they eat and two hours afterwards, but for me two hours is too late. Blood sugar changes start to occur within a half hour of eating. I'd check before eating, then a half hour, then an hour later. Before I had my five hour fasting glucose test at the endocrinologist's office, she suggested I do my own test, by drinking two small cartons of apple juice, then testing my blood sugar every hour. I did it even more often, and it showed this pattern. If it starts to go too low, though, eat again.
    I also carry glucose tablets, purchased from the drugstore, for emergencies. They bring the blood sugar up quickly, though, so use with care.
    And, yes, the glycemic index is vital in figuring out the correct diet. Thanks for the responses.
  8. charleston

    charleston New Member

    one more thing:
    re Rick's comment:
    If I got dizzy right after eating, it was probably because my blood sugar was too low, and what I was eating hadn't had time to hit my blood stream yet. That was very confusing for a long time.
    My food sensitivities do cause a reaction, which may contribute to the Meniere's like symptoms too, since I get stopped up. Since I've eliminated these foods, I can now actually eat a little bit of these foods without a serious reaction.
    But, I still believe most of my dizziness came from the lowering of the blood sugar.
    FYI, though once I got dizzy and realized I should eat something, it still took an hour for me to feel normal again. Still that was less than the 3-9 hours it had been before.
    One last thing: I still follow a relatively low-salt diet, but am not sure if that really helps. I've always had low blood pressure, but it good too low when I ate very low sodium.
  9. SpinininOhio

    SpinininOhio New Member

    I have had type I diabetes for 16 years and Meniere's for five and a half.

    My biggest indicators now of low sugar (hypoglycemia) are dizziness and increased tinnitus. I feel those long before I get shaky, feel hungry, other diabetic type symptoms.

    The fluctuation of blood sugar levels and the release of (stress) hormones during digestion have a big effect on my Meniere's.

    I try to use a "zone"/glycemic index/non-gluten diet in which I stay away from the things that will cause wide fluctuations and I always try to pair carbs with a small amount of protein to mitigate the fluctuation you get from any carb.

    Good thread!

  10. Ray50

    Ray50 New Member

    Dear Rick / Charleston

    It seems to me that this discussion and informations is going to help many including me , although i dont understand some
    medical and nutritional terms used but as far as my case is concerned i always have had lower than normal fasting blood suger , low blood pressure 10 /7 ,low cholestrol and triglycerides (lower than normal ) and during last 20 years i lost too much weght although now i am nearly normal and more related to this discussion I HAVE EXACTLY NOTICED THAT MY DIZZINESS INCREASES GRADUALLY AS WE APPROACH LUNCHTIME , and decreases gradually after lunch.

    Anyhow this discussion is very informative and i guess it might help me. I would deeply appreciate if you can introduce some easier informative topics / books on the subject to read and follow.

    Kind Regards
  11. Amethyst

    Amethyst She believed she could, so she did.

    Great thread!!!
    Sure gives me something tangible to think about. Thank you for that.
  12. abra

    abra New Member

    Is the diet one follows for reactive hypoglycemia similar (or identical) to the one you would follow for regular hypoglycemia?
  13. pardonme

    pardonme Guest

  14. Rick

    Rick New Member

    ...All of your symptoms are just about opposite of what people with Metabolic syndrome have. Metabolic syndrome is also a name for insulin resistance which is the condition that triggers too much insulin thus causing the reactive hypoglycemia. Most of us with metabolic syndrome have high triglycerides, higher than normal blood pressure(may still be in the normal range), and (believe it or not) blood sugar in the normal range.
    ...Even thought reactive hypoglycemia is triggered by a drop in blood sugar, it's usually still in the normal range and it's the adrenal response that creates all those weird symptoms. Based on what you've listed, while eating smal meals every two hours might help your dizziness the same it would for reactive hypoglycemia, If I had your symptoms I would be knocking on my doctors door to find out why.
    ...I'm not saying it's not reactive ot true hypoglycemia, but just saying your symptoms don't fit the norm for "reactive hypoglycemia" and metabolic syndrome.
  15. Rick

    Rick New Member

    ..reactive hypoglycemia is usually caused by our carbohydrate metabolism being out of whack and doesn't involve our blood sugar driopping to levels that are defined as hypoglycemia. True hypoglycemia is an indication of a very serious medical condition that needs to be checked out by a doctor. While diet may be a solution to preventing a true hypoglycemic condition, that solution should only be gien by a doc.
    ..Not trying to scare anyone, but in most cases, we're really talking about reactive hypoglycemia as true hypoglycemia is very rare except for those who suffer from diabetes for whom it is very common.
  16. abra

    abra New Member

    Well, I was asking because I saw a suggested diet for hypoglycemia online, and wondered if it were the same as what you are talking about.

    I suspect I could have reactive hypoglycemia...but can't try the diet til I finish this food allergy thing.

    I'm curious what a typical day's diet for someone with reactive hypoglycemia would be.
  17. Titus

    Titus New Member

    First, you need to eliminate all foods to which you are allergic.

    Next you have to figure out foods to which you are sensitive (not a true allergy but they make you feel bad anyway). You usually eliminate one suspected sensitive food each week, then re-introduce it to verify you do have a sensitivity. The "reaction" might take up to two days so this is a very long process.

    Next, you take the "safe foods" and make menus considering your total caloric intake per day divided by the number of "meals" that is your optimum feel good diet. For hypoglycemic people it usually means six meals a day. Each meal should consider glycemic load (do a google search for a complete explanation of glycemic load). Each meal should have a good source of protein (fish, white meat chicken, turkey) a good source of fat (avacado, olive oil, flax oil, nuts) and some good carbs (whole foods containing fiber such as brocolli and a small sweet potato OR a slice or two of real whole wheat bread (with at least 4 grams of fiber). Fiber and fat both slow down sugar absorption in the body so it's important at each meal. Dessert can be an apple, a pear, a cup of berries.

    Here's a typical breakfast for me
    2 hard boiled eggs w/one tomato & spices
    1 cup plain yogurt with cinnamon & ginger & 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal
    1 orange

    Then three hours later:
    Turkey burger
    cottage cheese with pears
    salad with olive oil dressing

    Then three hours later:
    soy nut butter on gluten free english muffin
    large apple

    I usually do 5 meals per day like this, when I'm eating well.
  18. milo

    milo New Member

    The other important thing about your story is the "determination". We all have to continue to search for our own "cure". I personally searched for 3 years before I found something that worked. My way was not strictly diet related. The causes of this disease are quite varied I suspect. Your determination to find a cause has paid off. Congratulations.
  19. charleston

    charleston New Member

    In response to abra's questions:
    Obviously, everyone is different. I can eat more now than when I was thinner. So there's a lot of experimentation that needs to take place.
    The first book I bought was Hypoglycemia for Dummies. Really! It helped a lot.
    I do eat a hypoglycemic diet, eating three small meals and 2 to 3 snacks a day. I don't eat carbs alone, always eating protein with them. And I try to keep the carbs down to 20-25 grams at each meal/snack. You do need carbs, but not too many at one time. The whole idea is to keep the blood sugar as constant as possible. This is a good idea for everyone.
    I'm sensitive to wheat, cow dairy, egg yolks and corn, but am much less senstive than before. I can eat rye, goat, and egg whites. Nuts, nut butters, balanced protein bars, flatbreads, and hummus are other snacks you can try. I drink lots of water, take vitamins and try to exercise consistently. Whole Foods has become my favorite store. They have lots of healthy options, avoiding lots of preservatives, which could also cause problems for those of us who are senstive.
    Like I said originally, I never would have recognized that these were my problems. It ook three years, but it works for me!
    Good luck, abra.
  20. abra

    abra New Member

    Thanks you guys...I only eat a couple of times a day, and not tons then, because of so many food maybe that is part of the problem, why I've gotten worse on the allergy, maybe this would help be part of the answer.

    It's hard to figure out a protein for breakfast when you can't eat eggs or any salty meats.

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