View Full Version : Can lupus mimic MS?

06-01-2007, 04:31 AM
Hi everyone

I have been having symptoms since 2004 and no one can figure out what is wrong.It looks like MS but they tell me that it's not because all of my MRI's are normal.

Now they are saying maybe Lupus but can Lupus mimic MS?

I am going through a flare right now of whatever it is and the symptoms are:

problems with my walking(cement legs)
blurry vision
numbness in right ear+ringing
problems with memory
sensitive to heat

Sound familar to anyone?I really would like to find some answers.

Thank you,

06-01-2007, 06:46 AM
Hi Rhonda,

Yes, Lupus can mimic a lot of things. That's why it's so hard to diagnose a lot of times. My mom has Lupus and it took them about 7 years to figure out what was going on and they thought she had MS for a while - except all her tests for MS were normal.

I hope this helps a little, but it doesn't mean that you do have Lupus. The doctors need to do some tests to let you know for sure.

06-01-2007, 08:29 PM
I was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease about 6-7 years ago, and many of those symptoms look very familiar to me. Now that my new GP is thinking Lupus and sending me to a rheumy, I'm wondering if the Meniere's Disease was really just a manifestation of the Lupus?

06-01-2007, 09:10 PM
in 2002 this is what happen to me, i started getting dizzy/nauseas spells that put me on the ground,along with loud ringing with vision ghosting or spots, mri's cat scans, and spinal taps all showed normal, on june 15th 2003 i had a very bad spell with a loud snapping in the back of my head,a new mri showed a infarction in my brainstem, this was along with symptoms of sle lupus/kidney involvment, after a 3 month rest period i was back to normal stroke wise with no leftovers, in early 2006 i started going into a real bad lupus flare and was finally diagnosed in dec 2006, i havent been able to work since,

Keep in mind all lupus sufferers have different symptoms(some mild,some severe) and most go into remission, i can trace symptoms back alot farther than 2002 but had no idea as to the cause
i stay real close with my doctors so they dont lose track of me


06-01-2007, 10:00 PM
I've had the classic Meniere's symptoms - ringing in the ears, dizziness, and loss of hearing. I've lost a lot of the low frequencies. This gets a little crazy in the classroom. Teenaged boys tend to mumble, and they are very difficult for me to hear. Luckily, they are fairly patient with me, and don't mind repeating themselves too much.

06-02-2007, 05:09 AM
Hey i know all about that teenage boy problem, I call my 16yo happy feet, for the penguin called mumble in that movie, and yes ive lost low tones in my ears also,

06-02-2007, 07:58 PM
So do we really have Meniere's disease, or is it just a part of the wonderful world of lupus? Or is it that Meniere's is yet another autoimmune disease that tends to show up along with lupus? When I first met my new GP, she listened to all of my little complaints, then ordered a list of blood tests. When I saw her again to discuss the results, she told me that what I told her made her think of autoimmune diseases. Was it the fact that I mentioned Meniere's that clued her in?

07-10-2007, 06:15 PM
gosh I really hope you're wrong about the Meniere's being a part of Lupus. I already have high pitched spectrum hearing loss...If I lose the low end... and if my final diagnosis remains Lupus...I'm in big trouble :?

morning star
07-11-2007, 09:10 AM
My question is my Dad has Meniere's disease but has no other symptoms like lupus, just the dizziness, throwing up, ringing in the ears, slight parkinsons'. I hve a great aunt who has sle, I have yet to comfirm the dx of sle but a physician I work with who has retired said it's probably lupus and my PCP has said this as well but a new Rheumie I saw just disregarded the whole thing and told me to loose weight. I'm curious now to see if there is a correlation between meniere's disease and lupus.

07-11-2007, 12:27 PM
Hi Morningstar :lol:
Meniere's Disease causes hearing loss, pressure in the ear, tinnitus, severe imbalance and vertigo. It usually begins in both men and women in the thirties or early middle age. The symptoms of Meniere's Disease come in cycles: The patient can suffer from several episodes which can last for several months at a time; then, it generally subsides (kind of like relaps/remission syndrome in Lupus). In some people, the symptoms seem to be more severe in the spring and/or the fall or when they are under extra emotional stress.
Ten to 15 percent of cases resembling Meniere's Disease may be the result of an immune disorder of the body (such as Lupus), where the system is producing antibodies which attack the inner ear.

There is a small distinction between Meniere's Syndrome and Meniere's Disease:
Ménière disease and Ménière syndrome are both believed to result from increased pressure within the endolymphatic system. However, Ménière disease is idiopathic (develops on its own), whereas Ménière syndrome can occur secondary to various processes interfering with normal production or resorption of endolymph (eg, endocrine abnormalities, trauma, electrolyte imbalance, autoimmune dysfunction - like Lupus, medications, parasitic infections, hyperlipidemia). In other words, Ménière syndrome refers to endolymphatic hydrops caused by a specific condition (eg, thyroid hormone disease, inner ear inflammation due to syphilis). Ménière disease refers to endolymphatic hydrops with unknown etiology (cause); it is the catch term for idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops. Autoimmune diseases (eg, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis) may cause an inflammatory responses which lead to Meniere's Syndrome.

I hope that I've answered your question. Let me know if you need anything furhter.

Peace and Blessings

morning star
07-11-2007, 06:23 PM
so is Meniere's disease an autoimmune disease?

07-12-2007, 03:39 PM
Not in and of itself. It can be brought on by an auto-immune disorder or it can be idiopathic. Meniere's disease results from fluctuating pressure of the fluid within the inner ear. A system of membranes, called the membranous labyrinth, contains a fluid called endolymph. The membranes can become dilated like a balloon when pressure increases. This is called "hydrops". One way for this to happen is when the drainage system, called the endolymphatic duct or sac is blocked. In some cases, the endolymphatic duct may be obstructed by scar tissue, or may be narrow from birth or by inflammation or damage due to an auto-immune disorder.
There is a conditon known as auto-immune ear disease. Autoimmune inner ear disease or "AIED" consists of a syndrome of progressive hearing loss and/or dizziness which is caused by antibodies or immune cells which are attacking the inner ear. The symptoms are a reduction of hearing accompanied by tinnitus (ringing, hissing, roaring) which occurs over a few months. They symptoms are on both sides and the hearing loss and tinnitus resemble Meniere's disease, and attacks of dizziness are accompanied by abnormal blood tests for self-antibodies. About 50% of patients with AIED have imbalance.
The immune system is complex and there are several ways that it can damage the inner ear. Both allergy and traditional "autoimmune disease" such as Ankylosing spondylitis, Behcet's, Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE), Sjoegren's syndrome (dry eye syndrome), Cogan's disease, ulcerative colitis, Wegener's granulomatosis, relapsing polychondritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma can cause or be associated with AIED.
AIED is rare, probably accounting for less than 1% of all cases of hearing impairment or dizziness. About 16% of persons with Meniere's disease in both ears, and 6% of persons with Meniere's disease of any kind may be due to immune dysfunction.

Have I answered your question or have I confused you more????
Let me know

Peace and Blessings

morning star
07-13-2007, 09:29 AM
Since SLE is hereditary for the most part. I was wondering that since my Dad has Meniere's disease if it might have played a role in myself getting SLE?

07-13-2007, 11:27 AM
SLE is not really a hereditary disease alone, many researchers believe that heridity and genetics are involved in the development of Lupus. "Studies on identical twins, where one of the twins has SLE, have shown that anywhere from 24 to 69 percent of the time, the second twin will have or will develop the disease. This suggests not only that inheritance plays a significant role in the development of SLE, but that other factors are important as well.
If genetics were the sole basis of the disease, both identical twins either would always have the disease or would not have the disease. Instead, it has been found that, for first-degree relatives of people with SLE, the risk of them developing SLE in their lifetime is about three percent. While this number is fairly low, it is much higher than the risk to the general population. The type of inheritance where a disease runs in a family, but has no direct inheritance pattern, is called polygenic. This reflects the belief that the genetic susceptibility is due to multiple genes, and that a certain threshold of genetic susceptibility must be reached before an external process is capable of triggering the disease. Many of the best known examples of polygenic inheritance occur in the rheumatic diseases, such as Lupus."
So, to answer your question, the probability is pretty small that your father's Meniere's disease predisposed you to Lupus, especially since Meniere's can be an idiopathic disease and/or can be brought on by an auto-immune disorder. So, if your father's Meniere's disease was brought on by an auto-immune disorder, it is more likely that the genetic susceptibility lies within that disorder - whatever it may be. If your father's Meniere's was idiopathic, then there is little to no chance that it predisposed you to Lupus.

Peace and Blessings

morning star
07-13-2007, 01:35 PM
Thanks so much for answering my question. My grandmother my Dad's mom had hearing loss unsure if it was Menieres or not but she did have Syphilis and I've heard that having this is a known cause of Menieres. So I'm just thinking maybe it's been handed on down the line(autoimmune prob's). Thanks so much for your replies.

07-14-2007, 08:48 PM
Hi Rhonda,

I just finished reading "Lupus Q&A by Robert G. Lahita and Robert H. Phillips. One of the topics referred to the connection between MS symptoms and the Antiphospholipid Syndrome (which I do have). To quote the entire thing:

"An MRI often reveals that patients who have antiphospholipid syndrome have areas in the brain that look like demyelination has occured. Demyelination is the removal of the covering of the nerve. Myelin is like insulation of the nerve, and its removal results in disturbed transmission. It is often difficult in patents to differentiate the phospholipid syndrome from multiple sclerosis or Lyme disease. Patients with the antiphospholipid brain lesions often have symptoms of multiple scleroisis, such as numbness in the fingers and toes and dizziness. Some require specific tests for multiple sclerosis such as a spinal tap or visual evoked responses to make the differentiation."

I was drawn to your question since it's a question I have had for some time, too! It made some sense to me after reading this book and the fact that I DO have antiphospholipid syndrome. Have you been tested for it?
I found out after having a TIA about 5 years ago.


07-20-2007, 08:42 PM
I have been going through the Diagnosis game . My neuro told me I had MS, Before looking at my MRIs . He said the deficits were so strong and I lost the vision in my left eye pretty much. I have severe optic neuropathy in that eye. I was sent off to a neuro-opthamologist who said.. umm this isnt optic neuritis, its severe optic neuropathy. I have a positive anti cardiolipin antibody. I have kidney involvement with protein and blood frequently in my urine as well as frequent urinary incontinence. I have all the joint pain in my legs, arms, hips and so on. i cant hold my arms above my head for more than ohh 1 minute. I have severe fatigue frequently. I was diagnosed with arthritis,fibro,MS,respiratory issues, leaky heart valve,major heat sensitivity.. I get very nauseated an sick in it, as well as major visual disturbances and very itchy skin when out in the heat. So my neuro after being so positive I was MS, now feels IM SLE as well as my primary doc and I am on my way to a new Rheumy , both my neuro and pcp agree that I meet atleast 4 of the diagnostic criteria for lupus, I So relate to being worked up for one disease, diagnosed than being told OOPS.. oh well..!