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Thyroid Disorders and Surgeries

The thyroid gland is one of the most vital endocrine glands in the body. It secretes hormones that regulate certain functions of the body including metabolism. 

What’s a thyroid disorder?

Millions of Americans are affected by diseases involving the thyroid gland. The most common issues of the thyroid include:

  • Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid)
  • Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)
  • Enlargement of the thyroid as a result of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism

How are thyroid problems treated?

Treatment for issues involving the thyroid gland would depend on several factors, including the type of thyroid issue one has and one’s general health condition. 

  • Hyperthyroidism

Generally, for hyperthyroidism medication (for blocking the excessive production of the thyroid hormone), radioactive iodine, or surgery is recommended.

  • Hypothyroidism

In most cases, thyroid hormone replacement pills are suggested for patients with an underactive thyroid.

  • Goiters or lumps

To give the doctor more information on the lump, a fine needle aspiration biopsy is done. If the lump turns out to be malignant or if the enlargement causes compression of the esophagus or windpipe, surgery may be recommended. 

What is thyroid surgery?

The extent of your thyroid surgery should be discussed between you and your surgeon. Removal of the thyroid or thyroidectomy can be classified as partial or complete (removal of all or most of the thyroid tissue).

Partial thyroidectomy can be classified as:

  • Open thyroid biopsy
    It’s a rarely done procedure on which the nodule is excised directly.
  • Hemi-thyroidectomy
    It’s a procedure in which one lobe or one half of the thyroid is removed.
  • Isthmusectomy
    Usually done for small tumors found in the isthmus, isthmusectomy involves the removal of the bridge of the thyroid tissue between the two lobes.

The extent of the thyroid surgery would depend on several factors including the reason for the surgery and the severity of the thyroid disease.

Greater Knoxville ENT has specialists who can evaluate and treat thyroid conditions. To request an appointment, you can call us at (865) 244-4396.

Reference:

https://med.uth.edu/orl/2010/06/30/thyroid-disorders-surgery-2/

https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-surgery/


What is Pharyngitis?

Pharyngitis, commonly known as a throat infection, is an inflammation of the back part of the throat (pharynx). Most cases of pharyngitis involve some or all of the parts of the throat – the tonsils, soft palate, and the back third of the throat. 

What causes pharyngitis?

Bacteria is the most common cause of throat infections. About 90 percent of pharyngitis cases are caused by viruses that also cause the common cold, influenza, or mononucleosis. 

As with the bacterial throat infection, the most common cause is group A streptococcus. Although rare, pharyngitis may also develop as a result of other bacterial infections such as gonorrhea, corynebacterium, and chlamydia. 

What are the symptoms of pharyngitis?

Sore throat and pain in swallowing are some of the most common symptoms of the infection. Other symptoms may vary, depending on the cause.

In viral pharyngitis, the sore throat may be accompanied by a runny or stuffy nose, redness of the eyes, hoarseness of voice, dry cough, or a red throat. 

For bacterial pharyngitis, sore throat and pain in swallowing may be accompanied by fever, headache, body ache, swollen and tender lymph nodes, and enlarged tonsils with white spots. 

How is pharyngitis diagnosed and treated?

The diagnosis for pharyngitis is usually made after a thorough physical exam, throat culture, and blood tests.

Treatment for throat inflammation depends on its cause. If it’s viral, home remedies like drinking plenty of fluids, gargling with warm salt water, using a humidifier, and rest may help in alleviating the symptoms.

For bacterial pharyngitis, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Amoxicillin and penicillin are the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for a throat infection.

If you suspect that you have pharyngitis, it’s important to see a specialist for proper treatment. Greater Knoxville ENT has specialists who are well-experienced in diagnosing and managing throat infections. 

 

References: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/sore-throat-pharyngitis-a-to-z

https://www.healthline.com/health/pharyngitis#causes

 


How to Treat a Sinus Infection

Sinus problems including sinusitis can be avoided during summer if you take extra precautions. These precautions include: watching out for the pollen, keeping your nasal passages moist, and keeping away from both the known and potential irritants.

If you tried those and still end up with a sinus infection, don’t fret. There are several ways to manage sinusitis.

What causes sinusitis?
Sinusitis or inflammation of the sinuses is often caused by a bacterial infection. In some cases, it may be caused by viruses and fungi.

Common symptoms of sinusitis include postnasal drip, nasal stuffiness/congestion, frontal headaches, coughing, fever, fatigue, and tenderness of the face (usually under the eyes or at the bridge of the nose).

What are the treatment options for sinusitis?
Treatment options for sinusitis would depend on the cause and severity of one’s condition. Generally, sinusitis is managed through the following:

1. Home remedies
Some of the symptoms of sinusitis can be managed at home. This includes the use of over-the-counter medications for pain, fever, and headache, hydration, rest, and the use of nasal spray, humidifier, or nasal irrigation.

2. Drug therapy
If your sinus infection lasted for over 7-10 days, a doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics, but only if the infection is bacterial. Fungal causes of sinusitis are treated with antifungal medicines or oral steroids if the infection is so severe.

3. Surgery
Surgery is only considered if drug therapy doesn’t improve your condition. The surgeon can open up closed passages or fix defects that contribute to it. This includes nasal polyps and defects in the bone separating the nasal passages.

If you are constantly suffering from a sinus infection, schedule your appointment with us by calling us at (865) 244-4396, or by filling out this form. Our specialists at Greater Knoxville ENT can look into your case and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan for you.

 

References:
https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/summer-sinus-problems#1
https://acaai.org/allergies/types/sinus-infection


What is Allergy Testing?

Over 50 million people in the United States have allergies. In order to determine what substance one is allergic to, an allergy test is done.

Allergy testing can be done either as a skin prick or blood test. This test is usually done under the guidance of an allergy specialist. This specialist is trained for helping patients find the best testing method and treating allergies.

Skin Testing for Allergies

Skin test is the most common method for testing allergies. It’s fast (you can get results as short as 20 minutes), reliable, and relatively painless.

There are two types of skin testing for allergies. The first type is performed on the forearm. A drop of a suspected allergen is pricked on the surface of the skin. If you are allergic to it, you will develop redness and swelling on the tested spot.

There are cases on which the doctor would recommend another type of skin testing. In this type, a small amount of suspected allergen is injected into the skin. Signs like redness and swelling usually indicate an allergic reaction to the injected allergen.

In both types of skin test, several types of suspected allergens can be tested at the same time.

Blood Testing for Allergies

Blood test is usually recommended if skin testing might be unsafe or won’t work (i.e. patient has a severe skin condition or taking certain medications that may interfere with the results).

Since the blood sample must be sent to the lab for testing, it may take days to get the results from the blood test.

Blood test for allergies can help determine allergies for pollen, dust mites, animal dander, insect stings, foods, mold, and some medicine.

Knowing what you are allergic to can be life-saving especially if you have a family history of allergies. Greater Knoxville ENT have specialists who can help you determine the right allergy test and treatment for you.

To request an appointment, you can call us at (865) 244-4396 or fill out the form here.

 

 

References:

https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/allergy-testing

https://acaai.org/allergies/allergy-treatment/allergy-testing


No More Nosebleeds!

Also known as epistaxis, a nosebleed is a form of active blood loss from the tissue lining the nose.

The nose is primarily prone to bleeding because the blood vessels that help warm and humidify the air lie close to the surface of the nose. So, when the nose is injured, even if it’s just a minor one, the blood vessels can be affected.

What could lead to nosebleeds?

There are several possible causes of nosebleeds. The most common ones are nose picking and dry air.

Other possible causes of nosebleeds include allergies, acute sinusitis, chemical irritants, common cold, foreign object in the nose, frequent use of nasal sprays, and nose trauma.

When should you see a specialist?

Most nosebleeds aren’t serious and can stop on their own. However, you need to see a specialist immediately if nosebleeds:

  • Follow an injury
  • Cause difficulty in breathing
  • Last longer than 30 minutes even with self-care such as compression
  • Occur in children younger than 2 years old

What can be done for occasional nosebleeds?

For occasional minor nosebleeds, you can do the following to stop the bleeding:

  1. Sit in an upright position and lean forward
    Doing so can prevent further bleeding. Leaning forward reduces the blood pressure in the veins of the nose while sitting upright keeps you from swallowing the blood.
  2. Gently blow your nose
    This is to help clear out any clotted blood.
  3. Pinch your nose
    With your thumb and index finger, pinch your nose and breathe through your mouth. This puts pressure on the bleeding point and often stops the bleeding. Do this for 10 to 15 minutes.

If the bleeding doesn’t stop, repeat the process for a total of 15 minutes.

Nosebleeds are oftentimes just a minor annoyance. However, if you’re having frequent nosebleeds or if they bother you, don’t hesitate to see a specialist.

 

References:

https://familydoctor.org/condition/nosebleeds/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/nosebleeds/basics/definition/sym-20050914


Recognize the Signs of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss develops gradually. By learning the early signs and symptoms, you can seek help earlier and keep the hearing loss from progressing.

Here are some of the things you should watch out for:

  • Trouble understanding the TV dialogue
    Compared to other sounds, speech can be more challenging to hear if you have hearing loss. It can manifest as trouble following a TV or movie dialogue.
  • Difficulty hearing normal household sounds
    These include doorbells, telephone ringing, or a friend/companion shouting your name from another room.
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears
    The ringing or buzzing shouldn’t be ignored as it can be a sign of permanent hearing injury.
  • Trouble hearing on the telephone
    If you have to constantly adjust your phone’s volume setting to hear the person on the other line, then you may be suffering from a hearing loss.
  • Depending on non-verbal cues to understand what the other person is saying
    If you find yourself constantly relying on lip movement, gestures, or other cues just to understand what the other person is saying, then you may have a hearing loss.
  • Difficulty hearing in noisy environments
    People with hearing loss often have problems masking the background noise and focusing on speech. If it’s hard for you to hear what other people are saying in a noisy environment, then maybe it’s time to have a hearing evaluation.

    What causes hearing loss?

There are several possible causes of hearing loss. These include the buildup of earwax, aging, ear infection, abnormal bone growths or tumors in the outer or middle ear, and ruptured eardrum.

If you suspect that you are suffering from hearing loss, don’t hesitate to see a specialist. Like other conditions, hearing loss is easier to manage on its early stages.

Greater Knoxville ENT has a team of specialists who can evaluate your condition and suggest appropriate interventions. You can request an appointment online or call us at (865) 521-8050.

 

References:

https://www.starkey.com/blog/2015/04/warning-signs-of-hearing-loss

https://www.audiologicsolutions.net/hearing-loss

https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/43310-Ten-signs-of-hearing

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20373072


Say Goodbye to Allergies

Spring is finally here! While it’s beautiful, it’s also the peak season for allergies. The main culprit? Pollen.

The trees and even the weeds release these tiny grains into the air to fertilize other plants. However, when they get into the nose of someone who’s allergic to them, they can trigger the body’s immune response.

When the immune system sees them as a danger, it releases antibodies to attack them. This leads to the release of histamines into the blood, causing the allergic reaction – runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing.

You don’t have to resort to locking yourself in your home to prevent this. Our specialists at Greater Knoxville ENT suggest these simple strategies that can help you keep the seasonal allergy under control:

 

  • When it’s dry and windy, stay indoors. This will help reduce your exposure to allergy triggers. The best time to head outside is after it rains. A good period of rain helps clear the pollen from the air.
  • Avoid hanging your laundry outside. Pollen can stick to your sheets or clothes.
  • When working outside, wear a pollen mask.
  • Listen or watch out for high pollen forecasts. If it’s forecasted to have a high pollen count, start taking your anti-histamine medications even before your symptoms appear.
  • Pollen count is usually the highest in the morning, so avoid outdoor activities until later in the day.

 

  • Take a shower as soon as you get home. This is a good way of ridding pollen and other allergens that you bring in with you from outside.
  • Try herbal drops. Popping a natural herbal throat drop can help ease an irritating cough or scratchy throat.
  • Rinse it out. You can use a rinse kit or a neti pot. A nasal rinse can help in cleaning the mucus from the nose and ease some of the allergy symptoms.
  • Stay hydrated. If you feel stuffy, staying hydrated can help you feel better. The extra fluid can thin the mucus in the nasal passages.

If you don’t find any success from any of these strategies, Greater Knoxville ENT can help. We have ENT specialists who can help you find a solution.

Schedule an appointment with us online or call (865) 244-4396.

 

References:

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/spring-allergies#1

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/allergy-education-17/slideshow-natural-relief

 


When to Get Your Tonsils Out

They’re pink and oval-shaped. You may not pay attention to them most days of the week, but your tonsils are a vital part of your immune system. They are your first line of disease against viruses and bacteria that get through your nose and mouth.

Since they’re the first line of defense, tonsils are at risk of getting infected. The condition is called tonsillitis. It’s very common in children but adults can get them too.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

A painful sore throat is one of the most common symptoms of tonsillitis. This is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

  • fever
  • swollen neck lymph nodes
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • bleeding spots on the tonsils
  • difficulty or painful swelling

How is tonsillitis managed?

How tonsillitis is treated depends largely on what causes it. If it’s caused by a virus, then it would be treated the same way as having colds. If it’s caused by bacteria, then the doctor may recommend antibiotics to clear up the infection.

When to consider tonsillectomy?

If tonsillitis keeps on coming back and it’s causing other problems such as sleep apnea, tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils) may be recommended.

The indications for tonsillectomy in adults are similar to children, although the condition is becoming less common in adults. As one grows older, the tonsils shrink and hence, infection becomes less common.

The following are the key recommendations by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery for tonsillectomy in children:

  • Tonsillectomy may be recommended for recurrent throat infection. This means having at least 7 episodes in the past year, at least 5 episodes per year for 2 years, or at least 3 episodes per year for 3 years. The medical record must reflect each episode of sore throat and 1 or more of the following: temperature > 100.94 degrees F, positive test for group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus, cervical adenopathy, or tonsillar exudate.
  • Tonsillectomy may also be recommended for those with recurrent throat infection, who may not meet the above criteria, but have multiple antibiotic allergy/intolerance, history of >1 peritonsillar abscess, or PFAPA (periodic fever, aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis and adenitis).

If you think you or your child needs tonsillectomy, call us. The specialists here at Greater Knoxville ENT will assess your condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan for you.

 

 

 

 

References:

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/when-to-get-my-tonsils-out#1

https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/when-should-your-tonsils-be-removed

https://www.aafp.org/patient-care/clinical-recommendations/all/tonsil.html

 


Balloon Sinuplasty for Chronic Sinusitis

It can be challenging to live with chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) lasts for at least 12 weeks. Making breathing difficult due to nasal obstruction, affecting how things taste and smell. Sinusitis cause pain, tenderness, and swelling around the areas of the eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead.

Chronic sinusitis can be treated with medications. However, not all patients respond well to them. As a last resort, an ENT specialist would recommend a sinus surgery.

In the traditional sinus surgery, the bone and tissues are removed to enlarged the sinus opening. This helps in clearing the blocked sinuses and consequently, restores the normal sinus drainage. However, this surgery is usually associated with pain and scarring.

What is Balloon Sinuplasty?

If you have chronic sinusitis but are hesitant to undergo the traditional sinus surgery, Balloon Sinuplasty may be right for you.

Unlike the traditional sinus surgery, Balloon Sinuplasty doesn’t involve any cutting or removal of bones and tissues. It uses a small, flexible balloon catheter to open up the blocked sinus passageways.

How does Balloon Sinuplasty work?

During a Balloon Sinuplasty procedure, a balloon catheter is inserted into the inflamed sinus. The balloon is then inflated to expand the sinus. Saline solution is sprayed in order to flush out pus and mucus. The system is then removed, leaving the sinuses open.

What can you expect during and after a Balloon Sinuplasty procedure?

Many cases of Balloon Sinuplasty use general anesthesia but there’s a growing number of ENT doctors who are using local anesthesia for in-office Balloon Sinuplasty.

As with recovery, you can resume to your normal activities 2 days after the procedure.

 

 

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-sinusitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351661

http://www.balloonsinuplasty.com/what-is-balloon-sinuplasty/procedure-overview

http://www.balloonsinuplasty.com/what-is-balloon-sinuplasty/faqs#n67

https://www.americansinus.com/results-of-balloon-sinuplasty/

 


Stop Snoring!

About 37 million Americans snore. While it’s very common, snoring is a major deterrent to quality sleep. Knowing what causes it is one step towards getting better sleep at night.

Here are the most common causes of snoring:

1. Aging

As we get older, our throat muscles and tongue tend to relax more during sleep. This causes a vibration on the inhale which leads to snoring.

2. Being overweight

Your mouth’s anatomy can play a role in your snoring. If you’re overweight, you tend to have extra tissues at the back of your throat, which can narrow the airways.

3. Having too much alcohol

You may end up snoring if you consume too much alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol has a relaxing effect on the throat muscles and can decrease the natural defense against airway obstruction.

4. Sleeping on the back

Snoring is usually more frequent and louder when you sleep on your back. This has something to do with the gravity’s effect on the airway (it narrows it).

5. Having obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. It is characterized by loud snoring followed by periods of silence when breathing stops or nearly stops.

6. Having nose and throat conditions

There are several nose and throat conditions that can cause you to snore. These include nasal polyps, a deviated septum, and enlarged tonsils.

Snoring can affect your or your partner’s quality of sleep and eventually, your quality of life. Seeing a specialist can help you find out what causes your snoring and what can be done to remedy it.

 

References:
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/common-causes-snoring
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/snoring/symptoms-causes/syc-20377694


What is Vertigo?

If you’ve been feeling like you’re spinning or that the world around you is spinning, then you may be experiencing vertigo.
 

What is vertigo? 

Vertigo is a symptom. It is a sensation that either you or the environment is spinning.  

Some people with vertigo barely noticed it while there are those with severe cases who find it hard to keep themselves in balance and do day-to-day tasks. 

What causes it? 

There are different causes of vertigo and these include: 

  • Meniere’s Disease 

It’s an inner ear problem caused by fluid buildup and changing pressure inside the ear. Aside from vertigo, Meniere’s disease also causes ringing or buzzing in the ears. 

  •  Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo 

BPPV is another inner problem that occurs when tiny calcium particles clump in the inner ear.  

  •  Vestibular Neuritis 

This is an inner problem associated with viral infection. The infection causes inflammation of the nerves that play a role in sensing balance.  

 How does vertigo feel? 

Many people often described vertigo as feeling tilting, unbalanced, spinning, or swaying.  

In some cases, vertigo may come with other symptoms like nausea, headache, vomiting, and ringing in the ears. 

Can vertigo be treated? 

Although many cases of vertigo go away on their own as the brain is able to adapt, there are some that requires treatment. Some of the most common treatment options include:
 

  • Vestibular rehabilitation 

It’s a form of physical therapy that aims to strengthen the vestibular system. This system has an important role to play in keeping our balance. It sends signals to our brain about our head and body movement relative to gravity.
 

  • Canalith repositioning maneuvers 

These are movements designed to move the calcium deposits (canaliths) out of the ear canal and into the inner ear chamber, where they will be absorbed by the body.
 

  • Surgery 

In some cases, surgery may be needed. These are vertigo cases caused by a tumor or brain/neck injury. 

If your vertigo is keeping you from having a normal life, consult a specialist.  

 

 

References: 

https://www.webmd.com/brain/vertigo-symptoms-causes-treatment#1 

https://www.rxlist.com/vertigo_overview/article.htm 

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/ears-nose-and-throat/vertigo 

 


Hear Clear in the New Year!

We often associate hearing loss with aging. While it’s true that hearing loss is more common among older people, it can happen to anyone, regardless of age. It can manifest in different ways, depending on the severity and type of hearing loss.

Regardless of the type and cause of hearing loss, the symptoms are almost the same. These include:

  • difficulty in understanding speech especially in a noisy environment
  • listening to television or radio at high volume
  • difficulty hearing people on the phone
  • ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • having trouble hearing children and women
  • the perception that others are mumbling
  • feeling stressed out from straining what other people are saying
  • feeling nervous from meeting other people

Greater Knoxville ENT Can Help

If you think you are suffering from hearing loss, we can help.

We perform hearing tests to help determine the type and severity of hearing loss you have, which can also determine the most appropriate treatment for you.

We have on-site Ear, Nose, and Throat physicians and audiologists who are experts in evaluating and treating hearing loss. All of our patients have customized treatment plans. We also offer sampling of solutions available in our facility, which include custom earplugs, assistive listening devices (ALDs), hearing aids, and earmolds.

Let us help you hear better this year! Call us  to schedule an appointment.

 

 

 

Reference:

http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/signs-hearing-loss

 


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