Ear nose and throat doctors evaluate and treat a variety of illnesses and conditions. In addition to ear and sinus infections, these specialists address throat issues related to the tonsils and adenoids. Sleep apnea, snoring, and thyroid disease are also within the purview of these medical professionals. In some cases, non-surgical treatments may be effective, while in others, surgical intervention may be required.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are approximately 29.4 million adults within the United States that have received a sinusitis diagnosis. When this condition is acute, it can last up to four weeks. Chronic sinusitis, however, can affect people for longer periods of time. In some instances, chronic sinusitis can last for 12 weeks and as much as several years.
Many adults in the United States have an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea. It has been estimated that one our of every five adults have a case of mild sleep apnea that has remained undiagnosed.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, individuals that have this serious health condition may experience hundreds of apneas, or cessations of breath, throughout the night. In addition to not receiving a good night’s sleep and being excessively tired throughout the day, there are other serious risks associated with this condition.
When left untreated, people that suffer with sleep apnea have an increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Furthermore, the American Academy of Otolaryngology indicated that these individuals are more likely to be involved in car accidents due to insufficient sleep.
There are several options available to treat sleep apnea. The American Academy of Otolaryngology states that CPAP machines and oral appliances may assist people with this condition. If an individual is overweight or obese, losing weight can potentially alleviate sleep apnea. In order for these sleep apnea treatments to be effective, however, individuals need to follow their physician’s recommendations for usage.
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids may contribute to sleep apnea as well. In this case, the American Academy of Otolaryngology indicates that a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy may be able to resolve this condition.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology reported that normal, healthy adults may snore on occasion. This is the case with 45% of adults that snore. Another 25% are considered to be habitual snorers.
Nasal congestion, especially when it is significant, can cause someone to snore. It can also potentially lead to sleep disruptions and sleep apnea. CPAP machines, oral appliances, and weight loss can also be effective snoring treatments, as stated by the American Academy of Otolaryngology.
In order to treat snoring, there are other options such as a nasal steroid spray or allergy treatments. When someone has a deviated septum or other structural issues, surgery may be recommended. According to the Academy of Otolaryngology, snoring may result from enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, and having these surgically removed may make a difference.
It is estimated that nearly 20 million people in the United States have some form of thyroid disease, according to the American Thyroid Association. Furthermore, it has been estimated that 60 of these individuals are unaware they have this condition.
Rhinoplasty as a Treatment Option
During 2016 alone, 223,018 of these procedures were performed. It was also the third most popular surgical procedure performed during this year.
The Rhinoplasty Society outlines several reasons why someone may choose to have rhinoplasty, which is a surgical intervention performed by a plastic surgeon that specializes in this area. In addition to aesthetic reasons, this surgery may be performed when someone experiences difficulty breathing through their nose. Rhinoplasty may also be indicated due to an injury or when the nose’s bridge has shifted position.
The Importance of Visiting a Specialist
Given that there are a variety of treatments available, when someone is suffering with any of issues related to their ear, nose, or throat, it is important to be professionally evaluated. If an adult even suspects that they may have thyroid disease or sleep apnea, it is also important to visit a specialist. Since these issues can interfere with an individual’s overall well-being, and in some cases, pose serious risks, scheduling an appointment is the best course of action.