An allergy is a genetic condition that causes the body to respond to harmless substances in the environment as though they are harmful to the body. These substances are referred to as allergens. The body’s immune system recognizes the presence of allergens and starts a reaction to prevent their invasion. In most people, this is not a problem. However, in some the immune system is overactive and identifies normally harmless particles as dangerous, producing an excessive reaction that actually causes inflammation. This inflammation is referred to as allergic rhinitis. Symptoms include: nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, and runny nose.
Hearing loss is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Unfortunately, more than 24 million Americans do not enjoy the full benefits of hearing in this world. Hearing difficulties are often unrecognized by the person involved. Children and teenagers seldom complain about the symptoms of hearing loss, and adults may lose their hearing so gradually that they do not realize it is happening. Hearing loss is sometimes accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 500,000 new cases are reported each year and the incidence is rising faster than any other type of cancer. While skin cancers can be found on any part of the body, about 80 percent appear on the face, head, or neck, where they can be disfiguring as well as dangerous.
Ear Infections/Tubes in the Ears:
Ear tubes (tympanostomy tubes, ventilation tubes, pressure equalization tubes) are tiny cylinders, usually made of plastic or metal, that are surgically inserted into the eardrum. An ear tube creates an airway that ventilates the middle ear and prevents the accumulation of fluids behind the eardrum. Ear tubes are often recommended for children who have persistent fluid buildup behind the eardrum, especially if the condition causes hearing loss and affects speech development. Your child’s doctor may also recommend ear tubes if your child gets frequent ear infections. Most ear tubes fall out within 6 to 12 months, and the holes heal shut on their own. Some tubes need to be removed, and some holes may need to be closed surgically.
Snoring may harm your sleep and the sleep of your bed partner. The question is, do you have snoring or snoring with sleep apnea, which is a more serious condition? Snoring is a common sleep disorder that can affect all people at any age, although it occurs more frequently in men and people who are overweight. Snoring has a tendency to worsen with age. 45% of adults snore occasionally, while 25% are considered habitual snorers. Children are a unique case in regards to snoring. Their snoring is usually resolved by removing tonsils and adenoids.
Common Causes of Snoring:
– Nasal obstruction
– Oral airway obstruction
Sleep apnea is a common and serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. It happens when your tongue, tonsils, or other tissues in the back of the throat block the airway. When you try to breathe in, the air can’t get through. Central sleep apnea is less common than OSA. Central sleep apnea means the brain doesn’t always signal the body to breathe when it should.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:
– Loud snoring with obstruction
– Frequent night time awakening
– Restless sleep
– Daily fatigue
– Morning headache
– Difficulty concentrating
A sleep study may be required to diagnose a sleep disorder and plan of treatment.
Abnormal changes in the voice are called hoarseness. When hoarse, the voice may sound breathy, raspy, strained, or show changes in volume or pitch (depending on how high or how low the voice is). Voice changes are related to disorders in the sound-producing parts (vocal folds) of the voice box (larynx). While breathing, the vocal folds remain apart. When speaking or singing, they come together and, as air leaves the lungs, they vibrate, producing sound. Swelling or lumps on the vocal folds hinder vibration, altering voice quality, volume, and pitch. Laryngoscopy may be suggested by the otolaryngologist at any time during an evaluation for hoarseness. Doctors usually look at the vocal folds either with a mirror placed in the back of the throat, or with a very small, lighted flexible tube (fiber-optic scope) that is passed through the nose to view the vocal folds. The treatment of hoarseness depends on the cause. Many common causes of hoarseness can be treated simply by resting the voice or modifying how it is used.
Common Causes of Hoarseness:
– Acute Laryngitis
– Voice misuse
– Vocal Cord Lesion
– Vocal Hemorrhage
– Thyroid problems
– Trauma to the voice box
Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses. It occurs as a result of an infection from a virus, bacteria or fungus. Normally, mucus collecting in the sinuses drains into the nasal passages. When you have a cold or allergy attack, your sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain. This can lead to congestion and infection, drainage accompanied by nasal obstruction, facial pain-pressure-fullness or headache. Most adults have eight sinus cavities: two Maxillary (cheek sinuses), two Frontal (forehead sinuses), two Ethmoid sinuses (between the eyes) and two Sphenoid sinuses (at the upper back part of the nose). Sinusitis can be acute or chronic. Acute sinusitis is normally treated with antibiotics and resolves. Sometimes sinusitis has to be diagnosed by a sinus x-ray or a CT scan. Chronic sinusitis is treated with long term antibiotics and steroids. In some cases, sinus surgery is required especially if polyps are noted in the nasal cavity. There are two types of sinus surgery: Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery and Balloon Sinuplasty.
A neck mass is a lump or mass in the neck area. There are many causes of lumps in the neck, some are treated with medication, others require biopsy and/or excision.
– Swollen lymph nodes (bacterial, viral or malignant)
– Thyroid Gland (enlargement, nodules, or cancer)
– Salivary Gland (enlargement, salivary stone, or cancer)
Nasal obstruction can be due to several factors. The most common factors are allergy, infection and nasal deformity. Nasal allergy is normally treated with antihistamines and/or nasal steroids/antihistamine sprays. Sometimes chronic nasal obstruction leads to nasal turbinate hypertrophy (chronic swelling of the nasal tissues) and may benefit from surgery to relieve nasal obstruction. Nasal infections are normally treated with antibiotics and nasal saline rinses. Nasal deformity is usually a result of nasal trauma or nasal septum deviation both of which may require surgery to improve nasal breathing and function.