Posts for: January, 2019
Otitis media—that's the medical term for a middle ear infection. While the ailment more commonly plagues young children, ear infections can impact teens and adults, as well, with tobacco smoke, having a cold or flu, and being prone to allergies all being risk factors for repeat episodes. At Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians in Sun City West, AZ, your team of four otolaryngologists work with patients to diagnose, treat, and prevent this uncomfortable problem. Read below to learn more about ear infections!
Symptoms of ear infections
Ear infections vary widely in intensity and in the symptoms they create. Signs may include:
- Sore throat
- A feeling of fullness in the affected ear
- Drop in hearing
- Fluid behind the eardrum
- Perforation of the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, in severe cases
Diagnosing ear infections
Your ear doctors in Sun City West, AZ, have the expertise to recognize otitis media, and they can make the latest in treatment options available for you. When you come to Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians, your doctor will review your health history and symptoms, as well as examine your ear with a lighted otoscope. This instrument enables the doctor to see into your ear canal and to observe any inflammation, drainage, and bulging of the eardrum. They may also blow a gentle puff of air onto the ear drum or perform a painless test called a tympanogram to note how well your eardrum moves.
Treating ear infections
With a confirmed diagnosis, your treatment may include:
- Antibiotics and pain medication
- Decongestants and/or steroidal medications (to reduce inflammation)
- Tympanostomy tubes to relieve pressure behind the ear drum (used for chronic otitis media)
Ear tubes, while more common for children, may also help adults who have repeated ear infections. These super-thin plastic tubes create an opening in the eardrum which alleviates pressure build-up due to fluid. Adults and teens may be able to have these placed in the office, but children require hospital placement and anesthesia.
Preventing ear infections
Frankly, some people get more ear infections than others do. Additionally, children, with their frequent colds and more horizontally-oriented eustachian tubes (an anatomical canal between the middle ear and the throat), get ear infections more easily.
While it can be difficult to avoid all ear infections, you may try these strategies to decrease how many you or a loved one get:
- Avoid tobacco smoke
- Control your allergies
- Get treatment for a suspected infection as soon as possible
At Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians, we want you to know that otitis media can be treated successfully and if chronic, managed properly to avoid sick days away from school or work, as well as prevent more serious health complications (such as hearing loss). If you think you have an ear infection, please call one of our two offices right way for an appointment: For Sun City, call (623) 972-2961, and for Sun City West, phone (623) 975-1660.
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.
What is a Tonsillectomy?
Need a tonsillectomy? Tonsillectomies have been practiced for over 2,000 years. A tonsillectomy is a surgical operation to remove the palatine tonsils. Tonsils are two glands located at the rear of the throat. Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctors, also known as an otolaryngologists, are highly experienced in tonsillectomies. Here's everything you need to know about tonsillectomies.
Why it's Done
A tonsillectomy is used to treat chronic or recurring tonsilitis, complications of enlarged tonsils, and bleeding of the tonsils. A tonsillectomy is also a treatment for sleep-disordered breathing and other rare diseases of the tonsils. The need for tonsillectomies are more common in kids than adults. However, people of any age can experience trouble with their tonsils and require a tonsillectomy.
Tonsillectomy is an operation in which both tonsils are removed from a recess in the side of the pharynx called the tonsillar fossa. Once the patient is asleep, the surgery begins. An instrument is used to hold the patient's mouth open. The tonsils are then cut away with a laser, scalpel, or a heated instrument. Once the tonsils are removed and the bleeding is controlled, the surgery is over. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, which is usually completed in 20 to 30 minutes.
A tonsillectomy is a common procedure. However, like with other operations, there are some risks with this procedure. These can include bleeding, infection, swelling, prolonged pain, or a reaction to anesthetics. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your physician before the procedure. Anyone who is contemplating surgery must weigh the potential risks against the benefits of the surgery.
Tonsillectomies are usually performed on an outpatient basis, which allows the patients to go home once they are awake from surgery. Recovery time for a tonsillectomy is usually at least 10 days to 2 weeks. You may experience some pain as as recover from a tonsillectomy. You might have a sore throat after the procedure. Pain relief medication can help you feel better during recovery. Many people are ready to go back to work or school within two weeks after a tonsillectomy.
An appointment for a checkup should be made two weeks after the procedure. The most important thing one can do after surgery to prevent dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids. Try to drink non-acidic drinks. Soft foods such as gelatin, puddings, and mashed foods are helpful to maintain adequate nutrition. Spicy, hot, and coarse foods should be avoided because they may scratch the throat and cause bleeding. Bed rest is important for several days after the procedure. Strenous activities should be avoided for two weeks after surgery.
You don't have to suffer anymore. If you think you may need a tonsillectomy, talk it over with a board certified ENT specialist. Find an ENT specialist in your area and schedule an appointment today. A tonsillectomy can ease your symptoms and help you get back to a happy and healthy life!