Posts for category: ENT Health
There are many ear, nose and throat problems that could benefit from surgery.
While surgery is often something that most people hope to avoid, there are some situations in which your otolaryngologist may advise you as to whether your next step in your treatment plan is actually to get surgery. While non-surgical treatment is almost always the answer, surgery can also finally provide those chronic and severe sufferers with the relief they’ve finally been hoping for.
When you are dealing with any ear, nose or throat problems it’s always best to turn to an otolaryngologist to treat your symptoms. Whether you are dealing with tonsil problems or sinus issues, they can help get these conditions under control. While many of these health problems won’t require surgery, they may be necessary if traditional methods aren’t providing you with relief. These conditions include:
- Hearing or balance problems
- Chronic or persistent ear infections
- Chronic sinusitis
- Thyroid problems
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Esophagus problems
By seeking care from a medical professional right away an otolaryngologist can easily determine the cause of your condition so that they can create a treatment plan that will finally provide you with the relief you’ve been looking for. In some cases, diagnostic imaging (e.g. X-rays, CT scan) may be necessary in order to make a definitive diagnosis.
In most instances, the treatment plan you receive in the beginning will provide you with a list of conservative, non-surgical options for tackling and managing your symptoms. While many people will find that these plans work perfectly for them, there are some whose conditions are so severe or long-term that the best option is surgery.
Fortunately, ear, nose and throat surgery has come a long way over the years and now otolaryngologists can offer:
- Both regular and endoscopic sinus surgery
- Surgery to correct breathing disorders
- Surgery to treat sleep disorders like sleep apnea
- Surgery to remove infected tonsils
- Surgery to correct congenital deformities
Whether you have questions about head and neck surgery or you are dealing with serious long-term sinusitis issues, it’s important that you have an ENT specialist that you can go to whenever you have questions, concerns or treatment needs.
- Pain in your upper jaws or teeth, eyes, nose or forehead
- A yellowish-green discharge when you blow your nose
- Congestion caused from swelling in your sinuses
- Severe headaches and earaches
- A sore throat and persistent cough
- Use a humidifier, especially in your bedroom; this keeps the air in your house moist, which soothes your sinuses. Dry air irritates your nasal passages and can cause increased mucus production, resulting in congestion and a sinus infection.
- Try an over-the-counter nasal irrigation kit; these kits, when used daily, can keep your nasal passages clean and free of mucus so bacteria won’t have a place to breed, causing a sinus infection. The saline solution also works to soothe your nasal passages.
- Wash your hands often, and don’t touch your face, nose, mouth or eyes; this helps to prevent spreading germs and bacteria to other places of your body.
- Stop smoking, because it increases mucus production and irritates your sinuses, providing an environment perfect for bacteria.
- Avoid alcohol, because alcohol can make your sinuses irritated and swollen, resulting in a sinus infection.
- Eat healthy and take your vitamins, especially vitamin C, and get sufficient exercise to keep your immune system at its peak so you can fight off a sinus infection.
What is Thyroid Cancer?
Thyroid cancer involves having cancerous cells and tissue where your thyroid gland is located. The thyroid is a gland at the base of your neck, right below your Adam’s apple. This gland produces important hormones to regulate your blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and your body temperature.
You may be at higher risk of thyroid cancer if you are a woman, have a family history of thyroid cancer, or have had high levels of exposure to radiation.
There are several types of thyroid cancer, including:
- Papillary thyroid cancer, which is the most common type; it shows up in follicular cells which make and store the thyroid hormones. Papillary thyroid cancer is more common in people aged 30 to 50.
- Follicular thyroid cancer, which also occurs in the follicular cells; this type of thyroid cancer typically happens to people over age 50.
- Medullary thyroid cancer, which starts in the C cells; the cells that produce the hormone calcitonin; if calcitonin levels are elevated, it can indicate medullary thyroid cancer.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer, which is a rare, fast-growing form of thyroid cancer; this type of thyroid cancer typically affects people who are at least 60 years old.
- Thyroid lymphoma, which is a rare type of thyroid cancer starting in the immune system cells; thyroid lymphoma typically happens to older adults.
Thyroid cancer often has mild or no symptoms, but there are a few recognizable signs and symptoms to pay attention to. According to the Mayo Clinic, some common signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer include:
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
- Pain in your neck or throat
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Chronically hoarse voice
- A lump in your neck
Thyroid cancer treatment works best in the early stages of the disease. Your doctor may recommend these effective treatments for thyroid cancer:
- Surgical procedures, to remove a portion or all of your thyroid gland and associated lymph nodes
- Radioactive iodine therapy, to destroy remaining thyroid tissue to prevent the cancer from spreading
- Thyroid hormone treatment, to replace missing thyroid hormone
Your thyroid performs an important function by producing hormones which are vital to the proper functioning of your body. You can help protect your thyroid by visiting your doctor regularly for a physical examination and lab testing if necessary.
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders and yet it’s one that isn’t as often diagnosed since most people don’t even know that they have it. When someone has sleep apnea the airways collapse multiple times throughout the night. As a result, this causes interrupted breathing. Since not enough oxygen is getting to the brain you can imagine the many health issues this problem could cause if left untreated.
So, what are some telltale signs that you have sleep apnea?
One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is loud snoring. While not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, most sleep apnea sufferers are also frequent snorers. Along with snoring, your partner may also notice that you might gasp for air in the middle of the night or that your breathing is paused.
The sleep apnea sufferer will complain of extreme fatigue throughout the day. Even if you get enough sleep you may still find it difficult to get out of bed (or you may experience headaches in the morning). While most people feel tired at some point during the day, a true sleep apnea sufferer has intense exhaustion that doesn’t seem to let up.
Sleep apnea can make it more difficult for you to concentrate. You may find that you aren’t able to complete work as efficiently as you should. You may nod off at your desk or while driving home from work. Sleep apnea can be dangerous because it can increase your risk of injury.
How is sleep apnea treated?
It’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent health complications and other issues from happening. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy. By placing this facemask over your nose and mouth as you sleep, it provides enough air pressure to keep the airways open and to prevent them from collapsing. This is the number one treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea.
Of course, sometimes an oral appliance device is all that you need if you only have minor or moderate sleep apnea. This device is custom-made to fit your mouth and can be used on its own or along with CPAP therapy to help you enjoy a better night’s sleep.
If you think you might have sleep apnea it’s important that you get this evaluated as soon as possible. Talk to our ENT doctor about how we can help you.
Head and neck cancers aren’t as often talked about or publicized as much as other types of cancer, but it doesn’t make these any less serious. Regardless of whether a member of your family has been diagnosed with head and neck cancer or you are experiencing some worrisome symptoms of your own, it’s important that you have an ENT specialist on your side to provide you with the care you need.
Head and neck cancer is an umbrella term that encompasses five different kinds of cancers that affect the pharynx (throat), sinuses, larynx (voice box), mouth, and the salivary glands.
Cancer can develop anywhere on the lips or inside the mouth. You may notice a red or white patch, or a lump, in your mouth that doesn’t go away. You may notice facial swelling, particularly around the jaw. You may also have difficulty swallowing or chewing. While a dentist can often pinpoint these early warning signs during a routine dental exam, if they suspect that it might be cancerous they may also turn to an ENT doctor for further medical care.
The pharynx runs from your nose to the esophagus and cancer of the throat can cause difficulty breathing or swallowing, persistent or severe throat pain, ringing in the ears, or difficulty hearing.
Cancer of the Larynx
The voice box (this includes your vocal chords and a structure known as the epiglottis) can also develop cancer. Symptoms are similar to pharyngeal cancer, as you may experience difficulty or painful swallowing or ear pain. You may also notice changes to your voice include chronic hoarseness. It may also feel as if a lump is constantly in your throat.
Cancer of the Salivary Glands
The salivary glands, as you may have already guessed, are responsible for the production of saliva. These glands are found in the mouth close to the jawbone. Signs of salivary gland cancer include persistent or severe jawbone and facial pain, muscle numbness, or weakness in the face, as well as swelling near the jawbone.
Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancer
It’s important to recognize that the symptoms of nasal cavity cancer are similar to a lot of other less serious condition; however, it’s important to seek medical attention from an ENT specialist if you notice these symptoms:
- Chronic or recurring nosebleeds
- Chronic or severe nasal blockages or sinus infections
- Facial swelling, particularly around the nose and eyes
- Recurring pain in the upper teeth
Do you have questions about head and neck cancer? Are you experiencing any symptoms that give you pause? If so, this is the perfect time to turn to an otolaryngologist who can provide you with the diagnostic care and treatment you need.