Posts for category: ENT Care
Have you ever wondered why you still feel tired after a long, full night of sleep? The problem may be sleep apnea, a condition that is not easily diagnosed. Many people don’t realize that they have sleep apnea and struggle for months or years with the effects. Learn more about the causes of this condition as well as the symptoms and treatment options with Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC.
Sleep Apnea Causes
Many cases of sleep apnea are caused by an obstruction in the airways that only occurs when you are sleeping. If you have a tendency to lay down in a certain way (such as on your back) or you have an excess of soft tissue in the back of your throat, that could increase the chances of sleep apnea. The muscles in the back of the throat relax when you sleep, so the soft tissue is more likely to block the airway. Patients who are overweight often struggle with this sleep disorder. In some cases, sleep apnea is hereditary and children may have this problem due to enlarged tonsils or major dental overbites. Smoking or excessive alcohol consumption could also contribute to sleep apnea symptoms.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Loud, consistent snoring is one of the clearest signs of sleep apnea. But obviously, since the patient is asleep at the time, he or she doesn’t recognize this symptom until another person says something about it. Other symptoms include:
- A tired feeling when waking in the morning.
- Fatigue throughout the day.
- Problems with memory and concentration.
- Irritability and changes in mood.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Dr. Gupta will discuss several different treatment options with you if you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea. These treatments may help:
- CPAP device (worn at night to aid normal breathing).
- An oral appliance to adjust the jaw and prevent blockages.
- Surgery to help the airways stay open, such as a tonsillectomy or repair of a deviated septum.
If you’ve recently discovered that you may be experiencing the symptoms of sleep apnea, get assistance from an ENT who is familiar with this disorder. Call (919) 851-5636 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC.
A cleft palate is a birth defect that affects the shape and formation of the roof of the mouth, causing a split in either the soft tissue or the bony portion. This condition occurs early on in pregnancy as the baby is developing. Of course, a cleft palate will not be detected until after a baby is born. While this malformation can be disheartening and stressful for parents, it’s important to understand this birth defect and how it can be repaired.
Depending on the severity of the cleft palate, your otolaryngologist will be able to determine how many surgeries will be necessary. The first surgery alone can improve the function of the middle ears, improve how the palate functions and even ensure that teeth and certain bones within the face develop properly.
In some cases, your child may also require bone grafting surgery at some point during childhood to improve the health of your gums and to make sure that permanent teeth are properly supported. As you might imagine, getting cleft palate surgeries early on will also improve your child’s speech and prevent impediments.
Additional surgeries may also be required to improve certain areas of the face such as the nose, as well as to improve breathing or to realign the jaws. After the surgeries are complete, other procedures may be performed in order to reduce the appearance of the scar.
It’s important to know that despite the lengthy treatment process and multiple surgeries that children who undergo cleft palate repair early on in life can achieve a greater quality of life. Not only do these surgeries provide a more natural appearance, but they prevent certain health problems (e.g. hearing loss) while also restoring proper speech and chewing.
If your baby was born with a cleft palate or cleft lip it’s important that you find an ENT doctor that you can trust to discuss surgery and to find out if this is the best option for your little one.
While it might not seem like there is a purpose behind why your ear produces earwax, there most certainly is. Even though a lot of people try to clean out their ears on their own, it’s important to remember that ears are self-cleaning. This means that the earwax will typically just come out on its own. Of course, there are times when earwax can become impacted or blocked, which can temporarily cause muffled hearing and discomfort.
Why does impacted earwax happen? There are a few things that could be to blame but one of the most common causes is at-home ear cleanings. While it might seem rather unhygienic, you don’t need to clean your ears, and should never place a cotton swab into the ear canal as you risk damaging or injuring your ear. One look at the package of cotton swabs and you’ll see that it states that you should never place it in your ear. Plus, these swabs can end up just pushing earwax deeper into your ear, which can lead to pain and other problems.
If you have a narrow ear canal or if you are older you may be more prone to earwax impactions. If this is the case, you may want to visit an ENT doctor rather regularly for proper earwax removal. You may also find that you are prone to earwax buildup if you constantly place things in your ears, whether you often use headphones or a hearing aid.
Fortunately, an otolaryngologist will often treat earwax impaction through prescription-strength eardrops that will successfully breakup the wax. Of course, if this treatment doesn’t work then you may need to come in so that we can safely and effectively wash out your ears and dislodge the earwax completely.
Remember to never try to remove the earwax buildup yourself, as they could just end up causing more issues in the long run. While there are kits that you can use at home to help irrigate and clean out the ears, if you aren’t noticing a change in your symptoms after three days it’s a good idea to visit your otolaryngologist for care.
There are several techniques for removing wax, from irrigating the ear to using a painless suctioning device. The earwax treatment we recommend for you will depend on several factors such as health and structure of your ear.
If you are dealing with earwax impaction then it’s time you turned to an otolaryngologist who can safely remove the buildup.
A sinus infection can happen to anyone and is normally nothing to worry about. However, recurring sinus infections can be the sign of a more serious condition called sinusitis requiring the help of your ear, nose, and throat doctor. They may suggest balloon sinuplasty, a common and effective treatment for sinusitis. Find out more about balloon sinuplasty and how it can benefit you with Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC.
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become inflamed and swollen. Often, this clears up within a few days or weeks and does not return for some time. In some cases, sinusitis lasts longer than four weeks and can even last months or years. If sinusitis lingers, it becomes chronic, requiring medical intervention, such as balloon sinuplasty.
Do I need a balloon sinuplasty?
Approved by the FDA in 2005, balloon sinuplasty uses a balloon to dilate the sinuses and allow them to drain. If left untreated, blocked sinuses can begin to cause issues with breathing, jaw function, headaches, and even insomnia. Balloon sinuplasty opens the blocked areas of the sinuses, allowing them to drain any built up mucus, pus, or other discharge causing the blockage. Some common signs that balloon sinuplasty may be right for you include:
- yellow or green discharge from the nose
- facial pain
- facial pressure
- decreased ability to smell
- you have had four or more sinus infections over the last year
- your symptoms last longer than four weeks
What can I expect during a balloon sinuplasty?
Your doctor will insert the balloon catheter into the sinus cavity through the nose. The balloon expands to open the blocked sinuses. Your doctor uses a saline spray to flush the sinus and help push the blockage out. Then, the balloon comes out and leaves the sinuses in an expanded state to allow for efficient drainage in the future.
Balloon Sinuplasty in Cary, NC
If you suffer from frequent sinus infections or chronic sinusitis, you may benefit from a balloon sinuplasty. For more information on balloon sinuplasty or how it can benefit you and your sinusitis, please contact Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC. Call (919) 851-5636 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Gupta today!
Find out if those symptoms of vertigo could be due to problems with the ear.
There are many reasons why you may feel dizzy. Maybe you got up too quickly or you’ve been in a rush all day and realized you haven’t eaten. Of course, there are certain times when the dizziness or spinning you’re feeling is due to an issue within the vestibular system, the system within the ear that is responsible for spatial orientation and balance. Find out when you should turn to an otolaryngologist to treat your symptoms of vertigo.
In order to diagnose your dizziness, there are several diagnostic tests that may be conducted. Your ENT doctor will go through your medical history and then perform a physical examination. We will ask you questions regarding the symptoms you are experiencing and when you experience them. A hearing test is one of the most common procedures performed because it’s the best way to test your balance and the inner ear.
There are many problems that could be to blame for your dizziness including:
- Problems or disorders within the inner ear
- Central nervous system disorders
- High blood pressure
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Side effects of certain medication
Dizziness can be treatable, it’s just important to be able to determine the root cause so we know the best approach for treating your symptoms. So, when should you see an ear, nose and throat doctor regarding your dizziness? You should contact an ENT specialist if:
- Your primary care doctor has not been able to determine the cause of your dizziness
- You are experiencing hearing loss, hearing changes or ringing in the ears
- There is pressure or fullness in the ear or ears
Common ENT causes of dizziness and vertigo include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): caused by the displacement of crystals within the inner eye
- Meniere’s disease: an imbalance of fluid within the inner ear
- Labyrinthitis: inflammation or infection with the inner ear (can cause hearing loss if left untreated)
- Vestibular neuritis: a viral infection of the vestibular nerve
One of the first tests a doctor will perform is an eye movement test that will check for issues within the inner ear (vestibular system). From there, your doctor will create a treatment plan based on the cause. Common treatment options include:
- Medication to reduce motion sickness and nausea from vertigo
- Canalith repositioning procedure: a technique that helps reposition the crystals within the inner ears (for treating BPPV)
- Migraine medications (to treat Meniere’s disease and vestibular migraines)
- Rehabilitation and exercises to improve balance
- Surgery (in rare cases)
If you’ve been dealing with severe or persistent dizziness then it’s time to contact an ENT doctor to find out what’s going on.