A WOMAN is creating a local support group to help those suffering from a life-changing disease.

Ménière’s disease is a condition of the inner ear that causes sudden attacks of dizziness and imbalance.

And Christine Armstrong, from Stocksfield, has spoken about her own experience of the disease.

“Between April and September last year, I had three to four attacks a month, from vertigo to intense dizziness,” she said.

“When I have an attack everything spins whether my eyes are open or closed, and I can’t move for 40 to 50 minutes. Whether its watching TV or scrolling on my phone or computer, they can all be really bad for prompting dizziness.

“It has a big psychological impact, and although its not life threatening it’s still life changing. There are treatments but there’s no cure.”

Christine told of her most severe attack, which took place in December last year whilst walking to church.

She said: “I started to feel uneasy because of the traffic around me, and it soon became obvious that I was going to fall before I quickly collapsed on the floor.

“A nurse came and tried to help but I wasn’t able to move and couldn’t stop being sick. I was stuck on the bridge for three hours.

“In the weeks following the attack I was scared to go outside on my own.”

But since then, her husband Peter, GP, and extended family have supported her along the way.

She has also sought advice from the Ménière’s Society to aid her recovery.

“After speaking with the charity I am much more confident when walking on my own.

“I now carry a small capsule that has all the information of a typical Ménière’s attack on it to inform the public if something happens,” she added.

The Ménière’s Society currently has local support groups throughout the UK set up by members and professionals. The groups are designed to provide information, raise awareness and support those suffering from the disease.

And based on her own experiences, Christine has created a support group for the Tyne Valley area to provide a safe place to share ideas and provide mutual support.

She said: “I think people need to know about the disease because its really debilitating for the people it affects.”