Managing Meniere’s Disease: CATS and SPADE

When I was first diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, my doctor told me to avoid CATS.  This is common advice to Meniere’s sufferers.  CATS stands for caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and stress.  I felt pretty good about this advice because I could monitor and eliminate the input of the first three things on the list and I incorrectly assumed that stress was not a problem in my life.  It wasn’t until a good doctor had a serious discussion with me about stress that I realized that I had a lot of stress in my life and that started me on my journey towards understanding how to manage my Meniere’s disease symptoms.   I feel that controlling your stress is important in handling any illness.  I have written plenty on that subject.

While reading the book, “Tinnitus, Turning the Volume Down,” I learned of another acronym.  That is SPADE and it stands for Stress, Panic disorder, Anxiety, Depression, and Emotional challenges.  In the book, Kevin Hogan the author, states that research into tinnitus suffering shows that the “ingredients” of SPADE tend to predispose people to tinnitus.

Since my initial diagnosis of Meniere’s disease, I have heard of CATS being defined another way: caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and sodium.  I like this definition better especially when used together with the SPADE acronym defined above.  You can think of this definition of CATS as guidelines covering what to not take into your body and of SPADE as the emotional states to avoid.

Together, CATS and SPADE, provide simple yet sound guidelines in helping to manage your Meniere’s disease symptoms.



  1. Hi rtc,

    I appreciate your words on the stress part of Meniere’s – seems like it’s not talked about so much. I’ve battled with stress for years, and like you say there’s a good chance it’s a precursor to tinitus & Meniere’s.

    Anyway, cool article. Good luck on the book!


    • The frustrating thing about stress is that it is so much easier to identify the sources in your life but much harder to eliminate them. Often, they come from your job or family situation. Those kind of problems are not the kind you can solve over night.

      Good Luck

  2. I’ve just been randomly search Meniere’s things – as I do any time I’m having a bad attack. Your page came up. This is really interesting! I haven’t heard of the CATS or SPADE thing before. I might have to do a little inventory and see how much of this stuff is going into my body. Looking back, I think I’ve had way too much sodium lately – and this attack has been going on for over a week. Perhaps that isn’t such a coincidence after all! Thanks so much for the post!

    • There is plenty of people who find relief in the low sodium diet. Give it a try. You might have to learn a little about how much sodium is in what you eat. It might surprise you. Do a search on the site. I’ve written plenty on soduim.

      Good Luck

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