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.