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14/Oct/2019

If you are a chronic allergy sufferer, you may manage your allergies effectively because it is a part of your daily routine — but you may experience more symptoms from the food you eat. Whether you manage allergy symptoms year-round or occasionally, you may encounter additional symptoms despite your attempts to manage allergies with medication or immunology treatments such as shots or sublingual drops. With Halloween approaching sweet treats are apart of the fun, however, the sugar that you consume can also be a culprit to your allergy problems.

This does not mean you are allergic to sugar, but there is a correlation with peak allergy season and certain foods like ones that contain high levels of sugar.

Inflammation

When sugar enters the body, it causes inflammation no matter if you have allergies or not. This inflammation may not be something immediately noticed however, if allergies are a concern — it is your allergic reaction to the environment that will be worse. For example, mold, ragweed, and even dust cause allergic reactions — but when allergens increase, this can send your immune system responses into a heightened state when combined with an increase in inflammatory foods that contain sugar.

Children & Sugar

When you have a child who has environmental allergies, it is essential to keep in mind the impacts of eating those Halloween treats. You may notice that your child feels worse after eating sugary snacks — fatigue and they may struggle to focus in class or on other tasks.  Refined sugar will pull double duty on stuffy noses and raise blood sugar levels. Even an increase in blood sugar levels causes additional inflammation and limits the body’s ability to fight off the allergens.

Reducing Symptoms

If you and your children plan to enjoy Halloween trick-or-treating, then there are some ways to reduce the impacts of the increased sugar and environmental allergic reactions.

Make sure you or your child take any prescription medication as recommended by your doctor.

If you are not on a prescription, then you should consider an over-the-counter medication a week before Halloween festivities begin. Be mindful of the side effects such as drowsiness, excitability, or dry mouth.

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Be mindful of other foods you eat the week before Halloween. Reduce any other sugary foods and snacks prior to trick or treating.

After Halloween

  • Limit the number of candy/sugary snacks in one sitting.
  • If it is your child, then limit his or her treats to after a meal.
  • If you or your child have just come in from the outdoors and notice that allergies have flared, avoid sugar altogether.

If you notice that your child’s allergy symptoms increase during times like fall and spring and more so when they eat certain foods, make an appointment to visit with our staff and discuss testing and treatment options. If you suspect food allergies, there are tests that you and your child can have completed by the doctor. Stay healthy and safe this Halloween.

 


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07/Oct/2019

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a frequent problem for individuals.  The dysfunction occurs in the Eustachian tubes that run from your ear to your throat when they become blocked with fluid. Their purpose is to make sure your ear does not back up with fluid or pressure and they are closed unless you are yawning, sneeze or swallow.

Causes

If you have recently suffered a cold, flu, or sinus infection, your Eustachian tube can build-up with fluid. If you have allergy problems, this can also increase the likelihood of a persistent or frequent build up in the ears. There are also other individuals who are more prone to having ETD.

  • Individuals who are obese are more prone. Obesity causes fatty deposits around the ears that creates the blockage.
  • Children are more prone.  Little ones have shorter and more straight Eustachian tubes which increase the likelihood of bacteria and fluid to get into the tube and become trapped.
  • If you smoke. Smoking damages the tiny hairs that sweep mucus away.

Symptoms

The symptoms of ETD can vary from person to person; however, here is a list of the signs to look for if you suspect you have ETD.

  • Ringing in one or both ears.
  • Sounds are muffled.
  • Clicking and popping in the ears.
  • Your ears feel full or plugged.
  • You are having trouble keeping your balance.

Treatment

ETD usually resolves on its own, especially if it results from the flu, a cold or sinus infection. Simple things such as yawning or chewing gum can help pop your ears and relieve the fluid. However, if you have allergies and it is constant, there are a few things you can do from home.

  • Invest in a neti-pot
  • Saline spray is an effective way to clean out the nasal area.
  • A nose spray can also reduce nasal inflammation and allow fluid to move more freely.
  • Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Sudafed or Claritin.

Prevention

The way you can reduce the build-up of fluid in your ears is through prevention.

  • Don’t smoke.
  • If you are overweight, speak to your doctor about a weight loss plan.
  • Use a nose-spray, especially before you go outside if you have allergies.

If you have a constant problem with fluid, speak with your doctor about a treatment plan such as prescription nose sprays or medication that will reduce inflammation. If you suspect your infant has a fluid build-up, feed your child or offer a pacifier to loosen up the fluid. If your baby is tugging at his or her ears, crying more than usual, or waking in the night fussy or crying, it may be an ear infection.

Schedule an Appointment.

If you have tried everything from home and you still have problems with your ears, make an appointment with your doctor to see if you have a fluid build-up or if it is caused by something else. If you have ringing in your ear from tinnitus, you may need to see an audiologist.  Remember prevention is best, but if you are still suffering from a build-up of fluid, there are treatment options your doctor can discuss with you.

 


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30/Sep/2019

Being sad isn’t something we commonly associate with allergies, although there are such things as having moods affected by allergies. When cytokines are released in the body in response to allergens, they can make a person feel sick or emulate flu-like symptoms which can contribute to depressed like feelings and behavior.

Kids Are More Sensitive

In a 2002 study, it was found that during times of increased ragweed pollen, patients reported significant fatigue and malaise. They also said they felt a change in their mood. Studies also show that allergies affect children with their schoolwork, and their performance suffers; this is the same for adults. Sleep interruptions and side effects of medication can contribute to work quality.

Children are more sensitive to the changes in their bodies and are more prone to tantrums and moodiness when their allergies are bothersome. Similar in adults, they too show moodiness and other symptoms to include heightened sadness during the spring. There isn’t any specific information that says individuals with allergies have depression; no more than it is the standard that depressed individuals have allergies. However, there is a correlation between heightened allergy reactions and overall mental and emotional wellbeing.

Allergy Sadness

If you are taking allergy medications, they can contribute to your overall state. Some such as Benadryl or Zyrtec can make allergy suffers sleepy, while other medicines function as a stimulant, like Sudafed. Both Sudafed and Claritin D contain a decongestant that produces symptoms of nervousness, anxiety, and sleeplessness. They are also hard on the heart and the overall nervous system.

Some people can cope with feeling down from their allergies, where others have a tough time feeling malaise and fatigue. A person may feel irritated at the fact that their bodies do not feel up to the regular daily tasks they usually accomplish. This alone can contribute to other mood changes when someone may need to work at a steady pace or perform at a certain level for their jobs.

Don’t Be Hard On Yourself

Aside from nose sprays and medications, sublingual therapy or allergy shots are the closest things to do to remedy allergies. In the meantime, taking precautions to avoid the allergens and combat them are all a person can do.

When you feel down, tired, or wiped out, ask for help with daily chores such as picking up the kids at school or running errands to the grocery store. If your children have frequent colds or sinus infections, it could be attributed to allergies especially if you notice more mood swings during periods of high pollen. If you or a family member notice mood shifts in relationship to fluctuations in allergy season, speak with your doctor and find out if you or your other family members would benefit from allergy testing and other allergy management protocols that work best for you. In the meantime don’t feel guilty if you need to slow down and rest if your allergies are flared as this is what your body needs.

 

 


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16/Sep/2019

Many people suffer from some form of allergies ranging from mild to severe depending on the environment and the person’s current health condition. Allergies are a symptom of the body’s response to something in the environment. Stress and nutrition play a role in the body’s ability to cope with allergies. By managing stress and making nutrition a priority will help your adrenal glands and improve allergic reactions.

Adrenal Fatigue

Your adrenal glands sit above your kidneys, and they do a lot for the body from balancing hormones such as cortisol to supporting your immune system. Your immune system responds to what it perceives as a foreign substance in your body, such as a virus or harmful bacteria. Just the same is pollen or food consumed that your body does not agree with. Also, cortisol is a hormone that is secreted to support you during times of heightened stress. If you sustain long periods of stress, your adrenal glands will respond by producing more and more cortisol. Eventually, your adrenal glands will wear out, unable to produce the cortisol and regulate other hormones in the body. The result is a weakened immune system and increased allergy symptoms.

Stress & Nutrition

Stress is not always negative. It is what gets us moving away from danger or gets us to wake up in the morning to get to work. Small amounts of stress are motivation to get some things finished. However, long periods of heightened stress are never good for anyone. For those who are prone to other health conditions such as allergic responses to the environment makes managing the symptoms more difficult. We cannot avoid stress altogether. However, if you have experienced an unusual amount of stress, and you have noticed an increase in allergic symptoms, your adrenal glands may be suffering. Symptoms can be sneezing, watery eyes, skin rashes, or an upset stomach. They cannot produce enough cortisol to counter the inflammation in the body. This creates a vicious cycle. More histamine is produced and the harder the adrenal glands have to work. 

Make sure and get adequate nutrition and take your vitamin supplement. If you have recently recovered from an illness such as a cold or flu, increase your Vitamin C temporarily. Try adrenal friendly foods and keep a journal to record your symptoms and overall wellbeing.

Best to Eat

  • Beef
  • Wild-Caught Fish
  • Avocado
  • Coconut Oil
  • Chicken

Avoid & Reduce

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Processed Foods
  • Dried fruit
  • Fast Food 

Cape Fear Otolaryngology North Carolina E.N.T.

If you are unsure if what you are experiencing is adrenal fatigue, it may be time for you to be tested or retested for allergies. The first step is to contact your primary care physician to rule out any other medical conditions. If you are under heightened stress, reach out to someone to help you through your difficult time. Connect with us at Cape Fear and make an appointment so we can determine a plan to help you manage your allergies.


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09/Sep/2019

Histamine intolerance is a build-up of histamine, and your body cannot expel excess histamine.   What is histamine? Histamine is a substance that is stored in some of the body’s cells.  According to The International Society of DAO Deficiency, “Histamine is a molecule derived from an essential amino acid, histidine, and it is produced by decarboxylation through enzyme L-histidine decarboxylase.”

When the body recognizes a foreign substance in the body as a threat, the immune system reacts. The cells release histamine into the bloodstream to fight the foreign substance. Other conditions, such as nutrition, medical problems, and drugs, can also contribute to histamine intolerance.

Symptoms

Your doctor or a dietician needs to test you to confirm if you have histamine intolerance.  However, there are specific symptoms to look for. Keeping a journal or record of your systems based pollen counts and your allergies may better help your doctor.

  • Headaches and even migraines.

  • Nasal congestion.

  • Digestive issues.

  • Skin rashes or eczema.

Other conditions can also contribute to histamine intolerance.  This is from an enzyme deficiency.  Your body produces an enzyme that is a natural histamine blocker called Enzyme Diamine Oxidase or (DAO).  When the body is deficient in this enzyme and elevates histamine, this creates similar symptoms as histamine intolerance. However, they may be more pronounced, accompanied by additional symptoms.

Enzyme Diamine Oxidase (DAO)

There are specific foods that block DAO, and certain foods cause the body to release histamine.  It is challenging to diagnose DAO deficiency because of the vagueness of the symptoms. Some symptoms we can associate with other illnesses.  However, it has been associated with children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

Symptoms of DAO Deficiency

  • Headaches & migraines.

  • Hypotension, hypertension, and arrhythmia.

  • Nasal congestion and asthma.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, stomach pain, and nausea.

  • Fibromyalgia and muscle aches.

  • Osteopathic pains.

Management

If you know what you are allergic to, then during times of elevated pollen or other environmental allergies it is best to avoid foods that elevate histamine for foods that reduce histamine and promote DAO production.

Taking a vitamin C tablet and increasing vitamin B2 will help keep your immune system in balance.  Foods low in histamine and promote DAO enzyme are fresh meat, fish eggs, vegetables (except spinach, tomatoes, avocado, and eggplant).  Fresh fruit, (except citrus and some berries) are a good choice. Adding coconut and olive oils, rice, quinoa, corn, teff, and millet will help with enzyme balance.

If you suffer from chronic allergies, speak with your doctor about histamine intolerance and your options for testing. If you have not had your allergies tested, this may be a good time to discuss testing options.


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02/Sep/2019

Allergies can be debilitating.  Sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, headaches are just a few symptoms.  For some, allergies create fatigue from the reactions and lack of sleep associated with the symptoms.  Certain foods can make symptoms worse.  A great way to reduce the symptoms along with medical treatment and antihistamines is through nutrition.

Ragweed

Ragweed has many species, and the pollen can be found 400 miles out to sea.  It thrives in rural areas and can be at its peak in urban areas between 10 in the morning to 3 p.m.  Because ragweed species are common within the United States, makes it difficult to avoid.  It can lay dormant for years until the right climate presents itself.  Places that are worse with ragweed are parts of Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The symptoms associated with ragweed are like hay fever.  Itchy and watery eyes.  Sneezing, nasal congestion and may have coughing.  Those with asthma may suffer an asthmatic response, or it can become worse along with severe sinus pressure and infections.  Some may even experience ear pain if the excess fluid has built up in the ear canal.

There are ways to keep your allergy symptoms at bay.  Your doctor can assist you with immunotherapy and antihistamines.   In addition, there are ways you help them at home, reduce interaction with the pollen, and avoid foods that you should not consume during ragweed season.

Foods to Avoid

  • Banana

  • Cantaloupe

  • Cucumber

  • Honeydew

  • Watermelon

  • White potato

  • Zucchini

  • Sunflower seeds

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Oral Allergy syndrome or OAS is a reaction that occurs when your body interacts with pollen similar to the pollen of certain foods.  For example, if you are allergic to ragweed and eat a banana during the height of ragweed season you may notice some uncomfortable symptoms.  It is uncommon for young children to exhibit symptoms. Typically it affects teens and young adults.

  • Itchy mouth;
  • Scratchy throat;
  • Lips, mouth and throat swelling.

Exposure

If you eat any foods that stimulate OAS and are having a reaction, take an antihistamine immediately and stop eating the food until you consult with your doctor.  Drink plenty of water and make an appointment.

Management

Not all individuals allergic to ragweed or other environmental allergies will have these reactions when eating these foods. However, if you have these reactions, it is best to avoid them or peel and cook the foods for meals that cause OAS.  This can limit or stop the reactions with proper food handling.

If you just have the symptoms of ear pain, congestion, and headaches, then antihistamines will help if taken two weeks before ragweed begins.  Administer hydrogen peroxide and warm rags to the inflamed ear (s).  Neti pots can help clear out excess mucus in the nasal cavity.  A saline solution for your nose for a quick way to clear your nose can help in between neti pot uses.


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26/Aug/2019

In mid to late summer, common pollen travels through the air, resulting in many people suffering from an allergic reaction that can spark hay fever.  This pesky pollen is ragweed.  There are seventeen species of ragweed in the United States, and nearly all states have ragweed.

Ragweed Season

The season begins in mid- to late July and can go as long as November with the peaks in September.  The allergy you may feel is your body’s response to the pollen that is released into the air, and one plant can release billions of pollen and has been found several miles into the atmosphere and even out to sea.

Symptoms

The symptoms are mainly uniform, with the exception to those who have a high allergy to it that causes asthma reactions.

  • Headaches

  • Sneezing

  • Congestion

  • Watery Eyes

 

To determine if you have an allergy to ragweed, you will need to consult an allergist for a skin test.  Depending on your medical history and the severity of symptoms, your doctor may recommend being tested for all allergies to rule out any other allergies you may have.

Things You Can Do at Home

If you have allergies, it is best to avoid the peak times when the pollen is at its peak such as staying indoors in the mornings until after 10 a.m., and in the evenings after 6 p.m.  Leave windows and doors closed, and do not dry your clothes outdoors.  Shower after you come in, wash your bedding frequently and even wipe your pet down after coming back inside. If you have a severe allergy to ragweed and have to be outside, wear a mask.

Nutrition

Vitamin C is always a go-to for illness and even allergies.  Your body goes to hard work fighting the foreign bodies in your system, such as pollen.  Several reactions occur, and one of those reactions is that your immune system is taxed and needs all the support it can help.  Allergies cause inflammation in the body such as a stuffy nose; however you will have more inflammation in your body that you do not notice.  If you are not taking any Vitamin C, make sure you begin a multi-vitamin and ask your doctor about taking an additional Vitamin C supplement during times your immune system may work harder.

Your food options can help you, too.  Greens such as bell peppers, oranges, grapefruit, jalapenos, broccoli all contain high levels of vitamin C.  Just as much as you need to focus on what to eat; it is best to avoid sugary foods and drinks.  Sugar creates additional inflammation in the body.

Treatment Options

If over-the-counter medications are not working, your doctor can prescribe a medicine that can ease your symptoms.  You can also go to any pharmacy for an over-the-counter nasal spray.  Your doctor can order an allergy test to better determine the cause of your allergies with treatment options such as shots, sublingual drops, and other treatment regimens.  If you believe you may have an allergy to ragweed or other environmental allergies, make an appointment with your ear nose & throat doctor today.


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19/Aug/2019

Fall is gorgeous.  The beautiful color of the leaves, milder temperatures, and a great time to get outdoors.  Fall activities such as attending a football game, hiking or taking your family to the park are fun activities toward the end of the year.  If you suffer from allergies, particularly in the fall, enjoying these things is more laborious.

Many people who have year-round allergies are accustomed to the constant battle, but it may be harder for those of you who fight them seasonally.  Fall and spring bring their allergens out, and if you are allergic to ragweed, cedar pollen, and mold, then you know what it feels like.

Nutrition

It seems like an outdated concept when it comes to nutrition.  We hear how diet is essential to our health, but maybe we don’t realize precisely what this means.  The food we eat and the benefits aren’t just limited to vitamins and nutrients.  The food we consume provides a wealth of benefits from vitamins and can reduce inflammation in the body that comes from allergic reactions to our environment.

Battling Fall Allergies

Battling fall allergies require proactive measures, and this means eating right as soon as possible and as much as possible.  Everyone wants to indulge in their favorite sweets; However, keep in mind that doing so during fall can aggravate your allergies more.  If you can opt for fall dishes that include low inflammation alternatives.

  • Sweet potato has beta carotene and fights off allergies.
  • Spinach is a wonderful addition to your meal and keeps allergies at bay.
  • Add a dollop of honey to your green tea. Both are inflammation and allergy fighters.
  • For a sweet treat, add cocoa to your diet with hot cocoa.

In addition to healthy eating is taking your prescribed or over-the-counter medications before the fall pollens begin.  Depending on which part of the county you live in, will start in late July and early August and continue through the first freeze.

Fall Pollen

  • Many environmental allergens can send you into a fit of sneezing with watery eyes. The top three, however, are dust mites, mold, and ragweed.
  • Dust mites live in dark places like ducts, so when the heater comes on, you will stir them up.
  • Mold thrives indoors in basements, appliances, and showers. Outside, it thrives in dark, moist places and on leaves.  So mold allergies will increase when the leaves fall off their branches.
  • Ragweed is a major culprit in moist soils, marsh areas, vacant lots, and near beaches.

Victory

You don’t have to lose the war on allergies.  It is an ongoing battle; However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping abreast of the fluctuations in pollen can help you stay proactive.  Remember, keep up to date on what is in the air, continue your vitamin routine and include extra Vitamin C, and make an appointment with your ear nose and throat doctor to see what else you need if you feel that nothing is working.  The victory is knowledge, and with that will help you along during fall.

 


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12/Aug/2019

 

Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, while others may suffer all year round.  There are ways to keep allergies in check. There are allergy shots, over-the-counter medication, and the doctor can prescribe medicine.  Despite a plethora of options, most people still suffer despite all the proactive measures. Unfortunately, they have to get through the sneezing, watery eyes, headaches, coughing, and wheezing.  There is another common symptom. However, it is common; it can feel debilitating.  It is fatigue.

Fatigue

Everyone gets tired from daily life.  If you are an allergy sufferer, you may notice you feel more tired than usual. Maybe you chalk it up to being apart of allergies or another unrelated symptom that you accept as part of a symptom.  Fatigue can be a sign of many things going on; however, if you suffer from allergies, the likelihood of your fatigue increase is probable in correlation with allergies, What causes fatigue in association from allergies?

Histamine

Your adrenal glands though small and sit right above your kidneys play a significant role in your health and wellbeing.  They produce cortisol in response to daily stresses and anything foreign that enters the body.  They also respond to histamine overload.  Pollen, dust, mold, and even food allergies can prompt mast cells to release histamine into the body.  The histamine increases blood flow, and inflammation to the area affected, such as nasal passages, eyes, and skin.  When the body is inflamed, the adrenal glands increase cortisol in the body, along with the endocrine system.

Cortisol

It sounds complicated; however,  these reactions, your body goes through to protect you.  After long periods of elevated cortisol, the adrenal glands will continue to produce the cortisol until they give out.  Once this happens, a person will notice a multitude of other symptoms.  You will feel much more tired when allergies are elevated.  You will also be more susceptible to other illnesses because your body’s immune system is compromised.  Those who suffer may find they get sick more often with other ailments such as the common cold, inability to fight off infections and it may seem they catch anything.

 Be Proactive

To protect your overall health if you are an allergy suffer is don’t wait to treat the symptoms.  Look for ways to reduce the body’s response to the allergens.  This can be done by visiting your E.N.T.  Your doctor can order an allergy test to find out what you are allergic to.  Depending on your allergies, you may need shots and prescription medication.  Schedule an appointment today and in the meantime, eat a healthy diet of low inflammation foods.  Doing so will keep you proactive in fighting your allergies and protecting your overall health.   Increase foods high in vitamin C and choose leafy greens over high inflammation foods such as fried and sugary foods.


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05/Aug/2019

 

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that closes the airways at night. There are three forms of the disease: Obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, or mixed sleep Apnea. Not all symptoms involve snoring; However, this is the most obvious.  When the collapsible airway where the tongue and upper throat connect with the palate with obstruction is when snoring is audible.  Large tonsils, adenoids, and extensive throat tissue are contributing factors and having a cold or sinus infection can cause temporary snoring.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

There are some symptoms to look for if you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea.  We all experience fatigue; However, if it lingers on for several weeks when there is no other apparent reason you are tired, you may suffer from sleep apnea.  If you are struggling with short-term memory loss, that is a sign of not getting a restful night’s sleep from the interruptions in breathing.  Your dentist can even tell if you may have it just by looking at your teeth.

If after seeing your doctor and they identify you may suffer from sleep apnea, the great news is that this is a treatable condition.  One option regularly used as a surgery alternative is the CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure.  This machine comes with a mask that sleep apnea sufferers use at night.  Another method is through a mouthpiece worn at night for those who cannot withstand the CPAP. Sleep position therapy is another method of using a device worn at night during sleep to keep your body positioned on your side versus lying on your back.

 

Talk to Your ENT

Allergy and sinus sufferers are among the candidates for those who may have sleep apnea.  If you exhibit the symptoms combined with allergies, contact your ENT.  Here are some questions to ask your ENT and/or sleep doctor.

  • Ask about referrals to a sleep study.
  • If they diagnose you, find out which type of sleep apnea it is.
  • Ask for a copy of your sleep study report once they complete it.
  • Ask if you can choose your CPAP supplier if they prescribe one.
  • Find out about general care of your CPAP machine.

 

Surgery

If you have narrowed down that you will have to have surgery, there are different surgeries than can be completed by stages depending on your unique situation.

·         Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

·         Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction

·         Genioglossus Advancement

·         Hyoid Suspension

·         Midline glossectomy and lingualplasty

·         Maxillomandibular osteotomy (MMO) and advancement (MMA)

·         Palatal implants

·         Laser-assisted uvuloplasty (LAUP)

 

Narrowing down the possibilities can begin with just an appointment with your health care provider.  With the sleep apnea treatment options, your doctor can discuss and help you determine the best approach for you.  Don’t suffer in silence; If you feel you have symptoms of sleep apnea, it is essential to see your doctor.   Making an appointment today can mean the difference tomorrow.


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Cape Fear Otolaryngology is a state of the art practice specializing in ear, nose, and throat treatments for children, teens, and adults. Our practice was designed with patients in mind and our team of highly skilled physicians and staff look forward to serving you and your family.

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