Karrie Aitkens lived as a mother a typical life in California. That is, until one day from this normal everyday life became torture for the mother of middle age.
Aitkens woke up one morning with a strange feeling in his left ear and chronic dizziness, as a retelling of her revealed story in Reader's Digest. Her strange symptoms prompted several trips to the emergency department, the general practitioner and several ENT specialists. But nobody could find out the problem.
There was another frightening symptom in the meantime. Aitkens's own heartbeat drummed so loud in her ear that he drowned out many sounds, including television, Aitkens said in an article published in UCLA Health.
She had to take anxiety pills to calm herself, Aitkens told UCLA. She also suffered from depression and anxiety and lost 40 pounds in the weeks since symptoms began.
Aitkens, usually a relaxed person, knew that these symptoms made no sense.
"It was really torture," she told Everyday Health.
Finally, a doctor advised Karrie to see another doctor. Quinton Gopen from the UCLA School of Medicine.
Gopen is an expert on head and neck surgery and, according to the UCLA Health report, immediately suspected the cause of the Aitkens symptoms. The doctor confirmed his suspicion by a CT scan in which both doctor and patient could see a tiny opening in the bone around the inner ear.
Aitkens' condition is actually quite new and especially rare. It is known as Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence (SSCD) and is so new a disease that it was first identified in 1998 according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD).
The disease is caused by the thinning or absence of the bone on top of the inner ear, says NORD. This bone should thicken after birth with increasing maturity.
If this does not happen, however, the bone may form an abnormal third hole over this condition, according to a UCLA health report. One of the features of SSCD is a phenomenon in which patients hear increased noise from their own body. These can be heartbeat, digestive noises and even eye movements.
While the inner ear usually has two openings in the bone structure, SSCD patients develop a third hole, according to UCLA Health. This hole can cause, among other things, balance disorders, hearing loss and dizziness.
After finding the problem, Gopen and a neurosurgeon performed an operation to fill in the hole in a section on Aitken's & # 39; ear & # 39; story. But the surgeon literally had to push his brain out of the way to reach the hole. Nevertheless, the operation has proved successful and helped Aitkens return to their normal lives.
According to NORD, about 1-2 percent of the population has this tiny hole in the inner ear. However, not everyone develops symptoms, and those who do so often develop them later in life. According to NORD, many also experience symptoms when they suffer from cranial trauma or pressure, eg. When traveling on an airplane or diving.
But Gopen told Reader's Digest that "the operation is considered a cure". And so it seemed to Aitkens, recovering from the ordeal, without hearing the terrible thumping of her heart.