Carrie Aitkens lived a typical life as a mother in California. That is, while one day sounds out of this normal, everyday life has become pure torture for a middle-aged mother.
Aitkens woke up one morning with a strange sensation in her left ear and chronic dizziness, according to her story told in Reader's Digest. Her strange symptoms prompted multiple trips to the EP, a general practitioner and several ENT specialists. Yet no one can understand the problem.
Meanwhile, another frightening symptom appeared. Aitkens' heartbeat is drumming in her ear so loudly that it muffles a lot of noise, including television, Aitkens says in an article published by UCLA Health.
She had to take pills for anxiety to calm down, Aitkens told UCLA. She also began to suffer from depression and anxiety, losing 40 pounds in the weeks since the onset of symptoms.
Aitkens, usually a relaxed person, knew that these symptoms made no sense.
"It really was torture," she told Everyday Health.
Finally, a doctor recommended that Carrie see a different ear specialist, Dr. Quinton Gopen of the UCLA School of Medicine.
Gopin is an expert in head and neck surgery and immediately suspects the cause of Aitken's symptoms, according to a report at UCLA Health. The doctor confirmed his suspicion with computed tomography, in which both the doctor and the patient could see a miniature opening in the bone surrounding the inner ear.
The state of Aitkens is actually quite new and especially rare. It is known as the Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence (SSCD) and is such a new disorder that it was first identified in 1998 according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).
The disorder is caused by thinning or absence of bone on top of the inner ear, NORD states. This bone is supposed to thicken after birth when a person matures.
However, if this does not happen, the bone may develop an abnormal third hole in it, according to a UCLA Health report on the condition. One of the notes of SSCD is the phenomenon in which patients hear amplified sounds from their own bodies. These can include palpitations, digestive noises and even eye movement.
While usually the inner ear has two openings in the bone structure around it, patients with SSCD develop a third hole, according to UCLA Health. This hole can lead to balance problems, hearing loss and dizziness among other symptoms.
After identifying the problem, Gopen and a partner neurosurgeon performed an operation to fill a hole through a section above the Aitkens ear, Reader & # 39; s Digest announces its Aitkens & # 39; history. But to do this, the surgeon literally had to push his brain out of the way to get to the hole. However, the operation was successful in helping Aitkens return to normal.
About 1-2 percent of the population have this minimum hole in the inner ear, according to NORD. However, not everyone develops symptoms, and those who do, often develop them later in life. Many also begin to experience symptoms after suffering some head trauma or pressure, such as traveling on an airplane or going on a dive, NORD says.
But Gopin told the Reader's Digest that "the operation was considered a cure." And so it seemed to Aitkens, who had recovered from the ordeal without hearing the horrific beat of his heart.