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You might need Thyroid Surgery if…

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By: Dr. Shatul Parikh

You have an abnormal growth (nodule) on your thyroid, develop thyroid cancer, or start making too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). The problem is that thyroid complications often go undiagnosed. If you feel like you have one or more of the following symptoms, do not hesitate to call Northwest ENT and Allergy Center.

  • Trembling
  • Heat Intolerance
  • Fast or Uneven Heartbeats
  • Wight Loss with No Change in Diet
  • Lump in the Neck
  • Trouble Swallowing

It is important that a blood test and/or ultrasound be administered in order for your physician to make a clear and final decision about your thyroid. At Northwest ENT and Allergy Center we perform a Minimally Invasive Thyroid Surgery. With a small 30-40 minute procedure and a quick recovery time, this surgery is the most reasonable choice when it comes to thyroid disease.

Audiologist vs. Hearing Aid Dispenser

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By: Dr. Katie Brown Au.D

If you think you have hearing loss, who do you go to? Hearing healthcare providers fall into two categories, audiologists and hearing aid dispensers. Doctors of Audiology are trained to treat, diagnose, and monitor disorders of the hearing and balance system. They are trained in anatomy and physiology, amplification devices, cochlear implants, electrophysiology, acoustics, psychophysics, counseling and sign language. An audiologist receives a doctoral degree, must pass a national examination, and have more than 1000 hours of clinical training. Hearing aid dispensers are trained in audiometric testing and hearing aid fittings only, mainly for the sale of hearing aids. They must also pass an examination.

Child Whispering to WomanThe first step in considering hearing aids is understanding your hearing loss. What type of hearing loss do you have? Is it permanent? An audiologist will perform a comprehensive hearing examination and explain the nature of your hearing loss. I strongly recommend seeing a physician to rule out a medical cause of hearing loss. Once medically cleared, your audiologist will sit down with you and your family to recommend a hearing aid(s) that best suit your specific listening needs and budget. Some private health care plans cover the costs of audiological evaluations, hearing aid consultation, and even partial or full coverage of a hearing aid. Be sure to check with your health insurance company.

Bio:

Dr. Katie Brown is an Audiologist with Northwest Audiology a division of Northwest ENT and Allergy Center. Dr. Brown has a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of South Alabama. She also has a Doctorate of Audiology degree from USA. Her interests include serving the hearing healthcare needs of all populations, specifically, the diagnosis and management of hearing loss in adults, including hearing aid dispensing and rehabilitation. She also specializes in balance disorder testing.

Holiday Season Health

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By: Dr. Latif Dharamsi

With Fall in the works, and Winter fast approaching, families and friends are getting prepared to spend the holidays together. As the seasons change, so do the Ears, Nose and Throat ailments that one can experience. By following the suggestions below, you can optimize your health and enjoy the festive times ahead.

The Fall is a wonderful time of the year for outdoor activities with the cooler temperatures beckoning us to enjoy Mother Nature. If you are an allergic individual, this time last year can be one of the more challenging. Before you go on your next Hayride, you can take a couple of easy precautions to minimize your allergy symptoms. Take your allergy medications regularly. This includes your nasal and oral steroids and antihistamines. Several of these medications require at least 2 weeks for maximum effectiveness, so regular use is crucial. The next step is to cleanse yourself of the offending allergens. After being outdoors, jump in the shower and rinse your nose out with an over-the-counter nasal saline spray. As simple as they may seem, the above precautions can significantly improve the quality of life.

As the year progresses to Winter, Georgians in the mid and northern parts of the state are subject to freezing and below temperatures, warranting us to blare the heat while indoors. This dry heat can take a toll on our sinonasal passages, aggravating sinus infections and nose bleeds. You can battle this by keeping your nose moist with a once daily nasal saline spray or gel followed by sleeping with a humidifier can improve the health of your nose.

It is time to enjoy the holiday season you have worked all year for. If the above advice does not work for you, our physicians are ready and willing to help!

Epistaxis a.k.a. Nosebleeds

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In the United States, one out of every seven people will develop a nosebleed some time in their lifetime. The nose is an area of the body that contains many tiny blood vessels (or arterioles) that can break easily. Nosebleeds can result from several factors, including dryness, nose picking, allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, blood thinner use, common cold, drug use, and certain systemic diseases. They can occur at any age but are most common in children aged 2-10 years and adults aged 50-80 years. Less commonly, benign or malignant tumors can cause recurrent nosebleeds. Since the root cause of most nosebleeds is the drying of the nasal membranes, it’s more common this time of year.

There are different ways to prevent for chronic nosebleeds from nasals sprays to humidifiers. Saline nasal spray will moisturize, thus reducing the chances of chronic nosebleeds. For optimal results, I recommend to patients 2 sprays in each nostril 5 times daily for at least one month. For patients who have recurrent nosebleeds in the winter, saline spray should be used on a regular basis during the winter months. The regular application of lubricants, such as petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment, works best when the ointment is applied to each side of the nose twice daily for one to two weeks. To prevent future nosebleeds, place a humidifier near the bed to maintain optimal humidity. In the case of severe or recurrent nosebleeds, patients may need to temporarily stop taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, warfarin, or Plavix®. Patients should avoid these anticoagulants and discuss stopping medications with the prescribing physician. Lastly, nose picking should be avoided. Children’s nails should be kept short and parents should discourage nose-picking behavior.

However, nosebleeds will sometimes happen despite those measures. My recommendation to patients to stop a nosebleed…

  • Using the thumb and index finger, pinch all the soft parts of the nose firmly.
  • Keep the head higher than the level of the heart. Sit up.
  • Lean slightly forward so the blood won’t drain in the back of the throat.
  • If readily available, spray nasal decongestant, such as Afrin, directly into the side of the nose that is bleeding. Alternatively, spray a small piece of cotton with the medication and then place the cotton in the nose. Hold pressure for 15-20 minutes.
  • Hold the position for 15-20 minutes. If bleeding continues, hold it again for an additional 20 minutes.
  • If bleeding does not stop after 30-40 minutes, consult a physician.

If frequent nosebleeds are a problem, it is important to consult an otolaryngologist. An ear, nose, and throat specialist will carefully examine the nose using an endoscope. Two of the most common treatments are cautery and packing the nose.

If you have patients with chronic nosebleeds, we can help.

Is it Time for an Allergy Evaluation?

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By: Mark B. Van Deusen, M.D.

Over 50 million Americans have a condition known as allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as “hay fever”, or simply, “allergies”. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can include nasal congestion, sneezing, increased mucous production, post-nasal drainage, cough, and itchy eyes. More severe symptoms include loss of sense of smell, chronic sinus infections, facial pain or pressure, headaches, and chronic fatigue. Depending on the allergy, some people can have symptoms year round, while others have seasonal symptoms. Interestingly, allergy symptoms can develop at any age and symptoms can change over time.

When a person has an allergy it means their immune system reacts to inhaled, ingested, or touched substances that should not typically cause a problem. Substances that cause this inflammatory response within the body are known as allergens. Common allergens include various tree, grass, and weed pollens, molds, dog or cat dander, dust mites, and various foods. In-office skin testing is an efficient and accurate way to test a person’s response to these allergens and grade their severity. This information is valuable for the both patient and physician. Patients can attempt to avoid certain allergens (if possible) and the physician can plan the most effective treatment strategy.

Treatments to control allergy symptoms include over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, steroid nasal sprays, and anti-histamine nasal sprays. Some of these medicines need to be prescribed by a doctor. Allergy immunotherapy is another treatment option. The goal of immunotherapy is to eliminate the body’s inflammatory response to allergens over time. Examples of immunotherapy include allergy shots or allergy drops. These are utilized to re-program a person’s immune system to become tolerant of allergens so they do not cause the inflammatory response that leads to symptoms.

For springtime allergy sufferers, now is the time to set up an appointment with your ear, nose, and throat doctor. Treatment should start before symptoms appear. A thorough history and physical exam is sufficient for an initial diagnosis and treatment plan. A discussion with your physician will help determine if allergy testing should be performed. A nasal and sinus examination can also identify any variations in anatomy that may be contributing to symptoms. Addressing allergies and any contributing factors can lead to a significant improvement in quality of life. If you have never been evaluated for allergy symptoms, now is a great time to see your doctor and start feeling better.

Strep Throat for School-Goers

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By: Avani Ingley, MD

Unfortunately, strep throat is most common in school-age children. Up to one-third of children with sore throats in the winter will test positive for strep throat. The infection is easily spread through sneezing, coughing, or by touching toys or surfaces that have been touched by an infected child. What’s worse, strep throat can cause a child to be contagious for up to 3 weeks if left untreated.

Many parents often wonder how to tell the difference between a sore throat and an actual strep throat infection. A child with strep throat can experience red and white patches in the throat, tender or swollen glands in the neck, enlarged tonsils, fever (typically higher than 101°), loss of appetite, abdominal pain, headache, and nausea. If two or more of these symptoms occur, the child should see a primary care physician. A rapid strep test or throat swab may be required. If strep throat is diagnosed, then antibiotics will be prescribed. Symptoms typically improve within 24-48 hours of starting medications. Children can typically return to school once fevers are gone, they are feeling well, and have taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours. It is important to stress hand washing and good cough etiquette to prevent the spread of infection. If the infections become frequent or symptoms do not resolve with antibiotics, specifically the swelling of the tonsils and lymph nodes, it is time to visit an ENT physician. A tonsillectomy, or removal of the tonsils, may be necessary. For more information, visit http://nw-ent.com/pediatric-ent/.

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

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Have you had your neck checked? Some thyroid cancers, that can occur in all ages, are aggressive and difficult to treat. Luckily, early detection saves lives. So does prompt treatment and life-long follow-up.

Dr. Shatul Parikh, Director of the Northwest ENT Thyroid & Parathyroid Center, offers quick ultrasounds and biopsies for those with signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer. These often include a lump, or thyroid nodule, that can be felt in the neck, trouble swallowing, throat or neck pain, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, cough, and vocal changes. Once found, thyroid cancer is mostly treated through surgery – a surgery of which Dr. Parikh has done a several thousand times. He specifically specializes in Minimally Invasive Thyroid Surgery, primarily defined by little cosmetic evidence of procedure. The difference between conventional thyroid surgery and minimally invasive thyroid surgery speaks volumes, and is the reason patients continue to choose Dr. Parikh as their ENT provider.

CONVENTIONAL

  • 3-4 Hour surgery
  • Requires an overnight stay in the hospital
  • Large incision with stitches
MINIMALLY INVASIVE

  • 35-45 Minute procedure
  • Able to go home 2 hours after surgery
  • Less than a 1-inch incision with no stitches

Dr. Parikh also specializes in Minimally Invasive Parathyroid Surgery. Gwen, one of his past patients, wrote about her journey with a parathyroid condition on a personal blog – Gwen’s Nest.

“I decided that if I was to ever have surgery, that the TOP priority for me was to use a surgeon that was very, very skilled and experienced with parathyroid removal,” she states.

She chose Dr. Parikh based on his skill and specifically appreciated his “method of using ultrasound to locate parathyroid tumors prio

Classic Classroom Conditions

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By: Dr. Mark Van Duesen

As another first day of school is finally here, children are excited to reunite with friends and ready to meet new academic challenges. However, ear, nose and throat illnesses are common in children and may hinder academic performance and affect school attendance. Ensuring your children are healthy heading into the school year is a great way to guarantee they will hit the ground running.

Crying BabyEar infections are the most common illness for which antibiotics are prescribed in children. Recurrent ear infections can lead to school absences, missed days of work for parents, and frequent trips to the doctor’s office. Persistent fluid behind the eardrum, even in the absence of an active infection, can have an adverse effect on hearing. Children who are unable to hear well in the classroom can have difficulty paying attention, resulting in poor academic performance. An early evaluation by one of Northwest ENT’s physicians can resolve these issues before they become chronic. We can help diagnose and treat conditions quickly to getyour children back to focusing on school and spending time with family and friends.

Alzheimer and Brain Awareness month

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Did you know that June was Alzheimer and Brain Awareness month? That posed a great opportunity to educate patients on the connection between hearing loss and cognitive function. Many don’t realize that the brain is constantly processing and reacting to sounds. Thus, when hearing loss occurs, the connections in the brain that respond to sound start to reorganize and function differently. This can contribute to the prevalence of dementia in senior citizens as they age. Fortunately, hearing aids can help maintain cognitive function by providing sound stimulation. The brain will automatically reorganize its connections and correctly react to sounds it had been missing.

Audiology Staff

Northwest Audiology Staff
The Northwest Audiology Department works with senior citizens every day in hopes that we can prevent or decrease cognitive decline. Our audiologists all have the same goal: to reduce the stresses and burdens of hearing loss through advanced, comfortable hearing technology. Any and all patients will receive a personalized hearing strategy and the highest quality of care possible.

Welcome Dr. Latif Dharamsi!

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Dr. DharamsiNorthwest ENT and Allergy Center is pleased to welcome Dr. Latif Dharamsi. Originally from Atlanta, Dr. Dharamsi received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, Master’s in Biophysics and Physiology from Georgetown University, and returned to Vanderbilt for Medical School and Residency in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. “I feel privileged to have the ability to facilitate healing,” he states. “By being a physician, I am able to have a positive and lasting impact on my patients.” Dr. Dharamsi will be seeing patients at our Canton and Cartersville locations.