Take advantage of National Sleep Apnea Awareness Day! Talk about your sleep with those around you at work, your family, and your friends. Don’t be afraid to mention if you snore, and talk about whether your sleep is refreshing or not. I’m sure you’ll be surprised to find out that you know someone with sleep apnea. Talk about whether they are treating it and how.
Here are some surprising facts that many of my patients are not aware of:
Sleep Apnea is not a disease of obesity. I have many patients who are “thin” with severe sleep apnea. This is a disease of anatomy and it doesn’t discriminate. Weight will generally make sleep apnea worse, but there are also obese people who do not have sleep apnea.
CPAP can be tolerated and is effective. I have many patients who swear by the improvements of CPAP therapy. For some it worked from the start and for some I had to work with them to have success. Since PAP therapy is the gold standard treatment and is non-invasive, all patients in my opinion should give it a good trial.
Untreated sleep apnea is dangerous. Only about half of sleep apnea patients complain of significant tiredness or fatigue, but all may have the health consequences associated with sleep apnea if untreated. The degree of sleep apnea may contribute to how severely the disease is degrading your health, but make no mistake that this is a chronic disease not unlike Diabetes, which is slowly stealing your health and vitality, shortening your lifespan.
Sleep Apnea is a real disease. More recently, I was in a discussion with an educated middle-aged man just diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea. After discussing the treatment and therapy with him, he replied, “But this isn’t a real disease, I don’t really have to do something about it, do I?”. Unfortunately, sleep apnea is not well understood as the significant public health problem that it is. All of the major diseases we suffer from in our later years are generally worsened by it
Newer surgical techniques for sleep apnea are less painful and more effective. While the old-fashioned “sleep surgery” legend still resounds in those who had it, newer reconstructive and more innovative techniques have lead to better recovery and results. Surgery for sleep apnea doesn’t have to be such a horrible recovery and can have dramatic improvements on appropriately selected patients. There are multiple sites of obstruction and a variety of options to help improve these anatomical locations. If you have failed other non-invasive therapies, find a sleep surgeon who is experienced in these advanced techniques and is not still performing the same old “UPPP” for every patient.
Comment below about YOUR sleep issues. It’s more important than you think! I’ll make some recommendations on how to help.
Read what another patient who had an in-office balloon sinus dilation had to say after her procedure. Below is a graph of her scores before and after the procedure from the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test, a validated questionnaire which rates the impact of chronic sinusitis on your life. Higher scores indicate the sinusitis is causing impairment on your quality of life. The impact of the procedure is shown by the improvements in this questionnaire.
The above scores are six months (and one brutal winter) after the in-office procedure despite having young children at home.
Read the latest testimonial by a patient 1 month after nasal valve surgery and turbinoplasty. She had suffered from Mild Sleep Apnea / Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome for many years with minimal improvement with CPAP or an oral appliance. Her nasal breathing was extremely hindered by collapse of the narrowest portion of the nose called the nasal valve as well as enlarged inferior nasal turbinates (a normal structure in the nose). By addressing these areas surgically with minimally invasive procedures, she is breathing better than ever and feels that she is finally getting refreshing sleep for the first time in her life!
A new analysis published online in CANCER showed an interesting finding for adolescents and young adults who develop thyroid cancer as a secondary cancer. They found these patients have a higher risk of dying than those with primary thyroid cancer. This study stresses the importance of screening young cancer survivors for this disease.
In the face of many articles discussing how thyroid cancer is over-diagnosed, this information does come as a bit of a surprise. Thyroid is one of the five most common malignancies in adolescent and young adult patients (ages 15 to 39 years of age). Generally, when it is found as a primary cancer, it poses a very favorable prognosis.
This study found that while the cases of secondary thyroid cancer were more likely to be small and in only one location, the patients were 6.6 times as likely to die than patients with primary thyroid cancer, though survival with both groups is excellent at greater than 95%. The study suggest that thyroid cancers developing after a prior malignancy may be different.
While great controversy remains in detecting smaller and smaller thyroid nodules and their further workup with fine needle aspiration biopsies, this study may create further screening in this young group.
If you are a young adult with another malignancy, consider having your thyroid evaluated.
Read the latest testimonial by a patient ~ 1 month after thyroidectomy in the operating room. He had a great experience and is quite happy with the cosmetic results as well. If you have a thyroid nodule, get evaluated and see if you are in need of a fine needle aspiration, an office procedure guided by ultrasound under local anesthesia that is very well tolerated. Thyroid cancer, while very treatable, is on the rise.
Did you ever wish you could step into a sound proof booth? Would you like to make your snoring spouse disappear? Is the wedding music boring into your brain? If you’re like my patients, you have probably had one of these wishes. If you have been told you have hearing loss and want to protect your ears from unwanted noise or if you have normal hearing but want to quiet obnoxious sounds, you should consider investing in some ear plugs to help. Generally, ear plugs come in two flavors: noise protection and water protection. The water protection variety are often putty or a rubberized “tree” and the noise type are spongy and compressible.
Often, the biggest problem in noise reducing ear plugs is having them when you need them! Therefore, while most companies make a bullet shaped earplug, I have recommended to many patients the flat type that roll-up into a bullet shape. This allows you to keep them in your wallet or purse, available in a moment’s notice! These may not always be found in your local pharmacy, so here are good quality ones from MACKS available on Amazon.com:
4-count 12-count Standard
Read the latest testimonial by a patient one week after balloon sinus dilation in the office under local anesthesia. He tolerated the procedure well and had great things to say about his results. After significant years using this tool in the operating room under general anesthesia, I have performed this minimally invasive procedure on dozens of patients with only local anesthesia in the office with the same truly amazing results. Balloon systems from both Acclarent and Entellus have been used and both are excellent and well tolerated for in-office procedures. If you have chronic sinusitis, make an appointment and find out if you could be a candidate!
Apple has paired with a Denmark hearing aid maker, GN, to produce the ReSound LiNX™, the world’s first hearing aid which connects to your iPod or iPhone allowing you to send music through a 2.4GHz wireles connection. Besides this feature, the aid will house other significant upgrades and will be offered in 10 hair and skin tone colors to help camouflage it behind your ear. Expect to see this launch in first quarter of 2014.