Symptoms most frequently reported include a persistent sensation of motion usually described as rocking, swaying, or bobbing; difficulty maintaining balance; extreme fatigue; and difficulty concentrating ("brain fog"). Other common symptoms include dizziness, headaches and/or migraine headaches, confusion, and anxiety. Many patients also describe ear symptoms such as hyperacusis, tinnitus, "fullness", pain, or even decreased hearing. Cognitive impairment ("brain fog") includes an inability to recall words, short term memory loss, and an inability to multi-task.
Interestingly, the condition often abates when the patient is in motion such as in a car, train, plane, or boat. And, symptoms are increased by stress, crowds, flickering lights, loud sounds, fast or sudden movements, enclosed areas or busy patterns.
In MdDS, the symptoms persist for more than 1 month, and possibly many years. This differs from the very common condition of "land sickness" that most people feel for a short time after a motion event such as a boat cruise, airplane ride, or even a treadmill routine.
These trends have recently been confirmed by the MdDS Balance Disorder Foundation (http://www.mddsfoundation.org) in a study of over 100 individuals diagnosed with MdDS. The female:male ratio was approximately 9:1; the average age of onset was 43-45 years.
The most commonly reported inciting event was a prolonged ocean cruise (~45%), however shorter boating excursions (~22%), airplane travel (~15%), and automobile travel (~8%) have all been described.
The worst thing a person can do is let a balance disorder limit his or her physical activity, as this will then cause a superimposed "disuse imbalance" or contribute to weight gain and depression. A vicious cycle may ensue.