Sinusitis


Diagnosing a Sinus Infection

Sinus infectionWhen you have acute sinusitis, otherwise known as a sinus infection, it’s pretty easy to recognize the symptoms. This is especially true if you have chronic sinusitis, which can happen a number of times a year.  In order to be diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, you must have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

In addition, you may also be experiencing:

  • Ear pain
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Aching in the jaw and teeth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

No matter if this is your first or your fiftieth sinus infection, it’s always a good idea to get checked out by a doctor just to be sure. Also if you’ve self-diagnosed correctly, you may need medication.

What should you expect when you go to the doctor?

First, your medical staff should take the time to discuss your medical history and specific symptoms. Next, your physician should do a thorough inspection of your sinuses for diagnosis, and may also check your eyes, ears and throat. To help determine the underlying cause, you may also undergo the following tests:

  • Nasal endoscopy, in which a thin, flexible tube with a fiber-optic light is inserted through your nose.
  • Imaging studies, in which a CT Scan or MRI can show details images of your sinuses.
  • Nasal/sinus cultures, though generally unnecessary, which might help pinpoint a bacterial or fungal cause.
  • Allergy tests, recommended if your doctor suspects the condition may be brought on by allergies.

A sinus infection is such a common thing that experts can often diagnose them without extensive testing. However, while the diagnosis is often correct, without testing, the physician could miss the real cause of the symptoms or prescribe a medication that isn’t actually needed. So if you are looking to get it right the first time, schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center.

When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about your symptoms and medical history. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will find the right treatment for your lifestyle. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices, and put an end to sinus infections once and for all.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Setting the Record Straight: Deviated Septum

deviated septumThe nasal septum is the bone and cartilage in the middle of your nose. It is what separates your nasal cavities and is responsible for keeping you breathing freely through your nose. However, if the septum is crooked, or deviated, it can hinder your breathing.

According to WebMD, about 80% of people have somewhat of a deviated septum. The good news is that unless the deviation is severe, you probably won’t even notice it. And fortunately, for most people, this is the case. Unfortunately for the others, a seriously crooked septum can result in breathing problems and requires treatment.

How do I know if I require treatment?

Because the symptoms of a deviated septum mirror those of chronic sinusitis and allergies, it’s important to go to a doctor for a proper diagnosis. WebMD lists them as:

What causes a deviated septum?

You may be born with one, or it can come about because of injury. That said, a broken nose doesn’t necessarily lead to a deviated septum.

What’s the treatment for this condition?

To manage your congestion and discomfort, you can reach for the old standbys:

Or, if you are ready to do more than just manage it, you can schedule an appointment at our sister office, Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat for a more permanent solution. Through superior, patient-centered care, our doctors will be able to determine if you have a deviated septum and whether or not you are a candidate for a surgical procedure called septoplasty, which will repair a crooked septum and improve breathing. During these procedures, the doctor will make a small incision in the area of the nose that needs repairing and remove excess bone or cartilage or lessen swelling and blockage in other ways that can widen the breathing space. Sometimes, a rhinoplasty is combined with septoplasty to improve the appearance or crookedness of the nose.

This outpatient procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia and can usually be done within an hour and a half. If you eligible to have it, your doctor will make sure that you are prepared and comfortable every step of the way.

If you think you may be suffering from a deviated septum, make a straight-line path to your phone and call Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat at  (203) 574-5987 today.

With three conveniently-located offices, there is no reason to turn your nose up to finding relief.

For information on all things related to to sinuses and allergies, visit CT Sinus Center’s website and blog.


Sinusitis, Allergies and Sleep Deprivation

SleepYou’re sure you’d feel better if you just got some sleep. All you’re asking for is just one night, but at this point it seems that you have as much of chance of that as you do winning the lottery.

Why is your sinus condition keeping you up?

Whether you have sinusitis or allergies, there are a number of reasons why you might have trouble sleeping. Let’s take a look at the three most common ones:

 

  • Difficulty breathing. A stuffy or runny nose can be very inconvenient when you are trying to get some shut-eye. If you’ve ever had the experience (and who hasn’t?), you know exactly what we mean. According to the article “Combat Allergy Fatigue” on the Everyday Health site, Dr. Park, author of the book “Sleep, Interrupted,” explains how having a stuffy nose is similar to sleep apnea in the respect that ““When your nose gets stuffy, your tongue starts to fall back, creating a vacuum effect in your throat. So you keep waking up, because you can’t breathe.” And when you keep waking up, you end up exhausted the next day.
  • Pain. Sinus pressure can often cause pain in your forehead and face. A stuffy or runny nose leads to post-nasal drip that can make your throat dry and scratchy. None of these conditions are conducive for a good night’s rest.
  • Sinus medication. Restlessness and inability to sleep are common side effects of many medications. For some people, even the medication intended to make you drowsey can actually keep you up. If you are having trouble sleeping while taking meds, consult your doctor or pharmacist to see they might be to blame. You may have change when you take the medication or even stop taking it completely.

Sleep deprivation is frustrating, for sure, and can actually be dangerous, too. WebMd explains the following effects of chronic sleep deprivation:

  • Decreased performance and alertness
  • Memory and cognitive impairment
  • Stress on relationships
  • Poor quality of life
  • Health issues including heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity
  • Occupational injury
  • Automobile injury

So what can you do if your sinus condition is keeping you awake?

You could continue taking sinus or allergy medication while looking for the one that relieves your symptoms and doesn’t have side effects. Or, you can make an appointment at CT Sinus Center and let us help you find permanent relief and a good night sleep.

When you first come in, our expert team will talk to you about your symptoms and medical history. Next, through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, we will find the right treatment for your lifestyle. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Center’s four conveniently-located offices, and spend your nights catching z’s instead of counting sheep.

For more information on sinus– and allergy-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Nosebleeds: Is Your Home too Dry?

dryDo you suffer from frequent nosebleeds, especially during the winter? Before you Google this symptom and then panic over what you find, ask yourself: “Is the air in my house too dry?”

WebMD explains, “Because wintertime humidity is so low, what little moisture that is around is quickly sucked up into the air. Moisture also evaporates from your body, leaving your skin, nose, and throat parched.” The issue is compounded when the artificial heat is turned up higher because the higher the temperature, the lower the humidity.

The good news is that the resulting nosebleeds are more annoying than harmful, although if they are heavy, last longer than 20 minutes and/or occur frequently, you should call your doctor. Washington University Sinus Institute explains, “Nosebleeds, clinically known as epistaxis, occur when the membranes lining the inside of the nose are disturbed or irritated enough to cause bleeding.”

Aside from bleeding, there are a few problems that may accompany a consistently dry nose.

 

  • Less protection: As we discussed in our blog “Much Ado About Mucus,” mucus plays an important role in our health as a filter for things like dust, smoke, bacteria, viruses and other allergens, and it contains antibiotics and enzymes to attack these things when they do get in. So it follows that the less mucus that is produced, the more likely irritants can get in causing allergies or illness.
  • Discomfort: When your nose becomes so dry, the skin inside can become irritated and crack. It’s not a severe pain, but any discomfort, especially in the middle of your face, is something you’d probably rather avoid.
  • Infection: Less mucus and/or cracks the membranes of your nasal passages are an invitation for infection. Everyday Health tells us that there is an additional risk for infection when “someone’s nasal passages are already inflamed from allergies.”

So what can you do to stay healthy and comfortable when your house is too dry? Fortunately, there are some easy things you can do to add moisture to the air in your home and your nasal passages.

  • Humidifiers. You can buy humidifiers of every shape and size that will not only humidify your room, but also look great doing so. That said, no matter which humidifier you choose, it is extremely important to keep it properly maintained and free from mold, bacteria and other allergens. Also be careful not to turn it up too high and creating too much moisture, which can bring mold.
  • Saline rinse. A little saline can go a long way towards keeping your nasal passages moisturized. These are sold over-the-counter and since they are non-medicated, are safe to use throughout the day.
  • Hydration. Here is yet another reason why drinking a lot of water is good for you. Stay hydrated, friends.

Dry nasal passages can also be the result of sinus and allergy issues. The best way to know for sure what’s causing it and how to treat it is to call CT Sinus Center and schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians. When you come in. we will take the time necessary to sit down with you and fully discuss your symptoms and medical history. Then we will do a series of tests to figure out exactly what is causing your discomfort and develop a treatment plan that works with your lifestyle and leaves your parched nasal passages out to dry.

Call 860-BALLOON today and schedule your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

For all things sinus– and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Are Sinus Navigation Systems Necessary?

Sinus NavigationYou may have seen advertisements and news stories on the latest trend in sinus procedure technology: Fiagon Sinus Navigation. In this blog we are going to take a look at it and see if it’s as good as it’s made out to be.

First, what is it?

Think of Fiagon Sinus Navigation as a GPS for your sinus cavity that allows your doctor to see and maneuver through structures within the cavity and pinpoint the area of trouble. Designed specifically for procedures performed in an office, it can be integrated into a doctor’s existing surgical setup.

Sounds great, but what’s in the fine print?

In essence, the navigation system is an additional procedure. This means that when it’s used, it adds cost and length to the original procedure.

Does CT Sinus Center use Fiagon Sinus Navigation?

No, we do not. Our physicians are all certified in specialized fields, some holding multiple degrees, others having even used their extensive knowledge to author various publications in their particular areas of expertise. In other words, Dr.Loughlin, Dr. Spinella and Dr. Marcus have the know-how and experience to perform procedures without using an additional navigation system — and have proven so time and time again.

loughlinspinellalarry-marcus

Does this mean that my procedure at CT Sinus Center is less effective than one that uses the navigation system?

Absolutely not. As we mentioned above, our physicians have been successfully carrying out sinus procedures using their own navigation abilities for over 50 years combined. So at CT Sinus Center, not only are you getting expert care that leads to permanent relief of your sinus conditions, you are not being forced to undergo an unnecessary extra step that will increase your costs and procedure length.

Want to know more?

If you are looking to put an end to your sinus suffering and want to find out how CT Sinus Center can provide superior, affordable treatment in just about an hour, call us today. Whether your specific case calls for Balloon Sinus Dilation or Turbinate Reductions, our expert physicians will make sure they put you on the right path to sinus health.

Make your appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices by calling 860-BALLOON. Our sinus procedures may not be offering extravagant bells and whistles, but they are providing superior, non-invasive, permanent relief. So save the GPS for driving instructions.

For more information on all things sinus– and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus Center webpage and blog.


CT Sinus Center Welcomes Medicaid and Medicare Patients

MedicareAre you a Medicaid or Medicare patient who is:

If you are experiencing one or more of these conditions, have you been checked out by a specialist yet? Why not?

Our physicians at CT Sinus Center are certified experts in the treatment of all types of allergy and sinus discomfort and can have you feeling relief in no time. Our focus is on patient-centered care, which means that from the moment you first walk through the door, our staff will do whatever it takes to make sure that you are comfortable and that we come up with exactly the right treatment plan for you. To do this, we begin by sitting down and talking to you about your symptoms and medical history. Next, we’ll perform up-to-date tests to pinpoint exactly what is causing your suffering. Finally, we’ll develop your individualized treatment plan, which may include lifestyle changes, medication and/or one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will permanently end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow

Maybe you haven’t called yet because yet because you’ve had problems in the past with doctor offices accepting Medicaid or Medicare. Unfortunately we know that happens a lot more than people think it does, and we know how frustrating it is when you aren’t able to get the level of care you deserve. At CT Sinus Center, our administrative staff is well-versed in handling these claims and welcome Medicaid and Medicare patients to our facility.

Stop suffering from allergy and sinus issues; call us today at 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

If you are suffering from ear, nose or throat problems, our sister office, Westwood ENT, also makes it easy for Medicaid and Medicare patients to be treated. Call them at (203) 574-5997.

For more information on all things allergy– and sinus-related, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Resources for Being Sinusitis Free in the New Year

New YearThe new year is a time for reflection, and in this blog, we are going to take a look back at some of what we learned about sinus and allergy issues in the past year. Hopefully these resources will provide you with what you need to transition into 2017 totally sinus free!

What causes allergy/sinus problems?

What’s all the hype about gluten?

How can I treat allergy/sinus problems?

More allergy facts:

With all of the resolutions you are going to make for the new year, why not make one that will put a permanent end to your allergy/sinus suffering? Call CT Sinus Center and schedule an appointment with one of our expert physicians to see what we can do for you. Our philosophy of patient-centered care will put you at ease the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave (even if you need a procedure). First, we’ll sit down with you and discuss your symptoms before doing thorough diagnostic testing to see exactly what is triggering your condition. Afterward, we’ll develop an individualized treatment plan that fits your specific lifestyle. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will permanently end your suffering in around an hour:

  • Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing.
  • Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow.

Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices, and breathe easy into the new year.

For more information on all things sinus– and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus website and blog.


Preparing for a Procedure

procedureIf you have ever undergone a medical procedure or surgery, you know that the anticipation can one of the worst parts of the entire process. However, when you are coming in to CT Sinus Center for either balloon sinus dilation or turbinate reduction, we will do everything we can to make sure you are prepared, calm and comfortable from your very first appointment.   

The Fear Factor

The reason anticipation is so scary is because it is usually accompanied by a fear of the unknown. What is going to happen during the procedure? How will I feel afterwards? What will my recovery be like? What if something goes wrong? This anxiety is completely natural, and everyone who works at CT Sinus takes it all very seriously.

Our Approach

We have built our practice around our patient-centered model of care, which means that from the minute you walk through our door, we will take the time to make sure your needs come first. What does this look like?

The Treatment

To begin with, it looks like our doctors taking the time to sit down with you to thoroughly discuss your diagnosis and the options you have for treatment. Instead of just telling you what treatment to have, we’ll work with you to make sure that it is the right one for you specifically. Patient-centered care also looks like everyone on staff making sure that you fully understand every step of the procedure you are going to undergo and being attentive and responsive to any questions and concerns you have about any of it.

Trusted Physicians

Most physicians will give you a list of instructions to follow before undergo a procedure, but not all of them will give you the peace of mind that our expert physicians will. Want to hear it from a patient? Watch a testimonial from a balloon sinus dilation patient.

If you are having sinus and allergy problems and you want to put an end to them, call CT Sinus today at  860-BALLOON and see what we can do for you. With four offices conveniently located throughout Connecticut, the right patient-centered care is just a short drive away.

For more information on sinus and allergy issues, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.


Is it Time to Turn to Turbinate Reductions?

When allergy or sinus issues hit, you can blame all the usual suspects — pollen, mold, dust and pet dander — but you can also blame your turbinates. A turbinate sounds like something you’d find on an airplane, but what it is is mainly soft tissue structures within the nose that support your nasal passages and clean, warm and moisturize the air as it passes through your airway. When they become inflamed, due to respiratory infections or allergies (see image), it becomes difficult to breathe through your nose.

You can treat turbinate inflammation with the same prescription or over-the counter medications you use for your other sinus symptoms. Antihistamines, decongestants and nasal spray will all work, but they are all only temporary fixes. In addition, if you have long-term or chronic turbinate inflammation, medication may lose its effectiveness.

Turbinate Reduction

At Connecticut Sinus Center, we specialize in a same-day, in-house procedure called Turbinate Reduction that doesn’t just address the cause of the inflammation, but actually addresses the inflammation itself, clearing the passageway for air to flow more freely. The procedure involves decreasing the size of the turbinate by making a small incision in it’s lining and removing a small amount of bone.  

The benefits of turbinate reductions include:

  • Increased air flow
  • Decrease in common sinus ailments
  • Decrease in sinus headaches
  • Restoration of sense of smell
  • Often a reduction in post nasal drip
  • Minimal recovery time
  • No external scarring (this is an entirely internal procedure)

If you would like to know if you are eligible for the Turbinate Reduction procedure, make an appointment at CT Sinus Center today with one of our expert physicians. When you come in, we will take the time to thoroughly discuss your symptoms and your medical history. After, we will use a variety of diagnostic methods to examine your airways in order to determine what is keeping you from breathing freely through your nose. During the entire process, we’ll answer all of your questions and help alleviate any concerns.

If you do not qualify for the turbinate procedure, we will work with you to find the right individualized treatment plan for sinus relief. Call us today at 860-BALLOON to see what we can do for you. With our four offices offering services, you are sure to find one convenient to your neighborhood.

And for all things allergy and sinus related, visit the CT Sinus website and blog.


Should You Thumb Your Nose at Nasal Sprays?

Nasal SprayFor many sinus and allergy sufferers, nasal sprays are a godsend when their symptoms are acting up. In fact, it is quite an effective remedy when used properly. However, when using nasal spray, it’s important to understand the different classes and the risks associated with each one.

Why do nasal sprays work? First and foremost, they provide moisture to your nasal passages, and second, they open them up so that air flows freely. This is important because:

  • When the membranes in your nose become dry, they become irritated. In addition, the mucus gets dry, and, in turn, gets thicker. The thicker the mucus, the more clogged your sinuses.
  • Allergens, bacteria and viruses can also build up in your sinuses when the mucus is blocking airflow, which in addition, causes the mucus to become thicker. And although this is your body’s way of guarding itself against the irritants, again, the thicker the mucus, the more congested you become and the more chance of infections.

There are different types of nasal sprays and for a guide to the different brands and their usage, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). Here, we are going to take a quick look at the different classes.

Antihistamines: In “The Anti’s of Antihistamines,” we explained that antihistamines “prevent the effects of histamine, the substance your body releases when you are exposed to an allergen. The histamine is what causes you to sneeze as well as have a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. Therefore, antihistamines are designed to give you relief from these symptoms.” Antihistamines are best taken before exposure to the allergen, which is not always possible.

Corticosteroids: These sprays contain the man-made hormone cortisol, which is designed to block histamine much like an antihistamine. They also decrease the inflammation in the nasal passages, allowing them to drain and the airflow to increase. As you can see in “Are Corticosteroids Safe for Long-Term Use,” there are serious risks associated with this type of medication.

Decongestants: WebMD explains that this type of nose spray works by “narrowing blood vessels in the lining of your nose, which shrinks swollen tissues,” thereby allowing air to flow more freely. However, your body will only respond positively to the medication for about three days and they are not safe for people with certain medical conditions.

The other problem with decongestant nasal spray is that if used for an extended period of time, they can actually make your symptoms worse. This condition is called “rebound,” or technically, rhinitis medicamentosa, and if not addressed, can lead to serious long-term problems.

Saline/Salt Water: As the name suggests, these over-the-counter nasal sprays are a mix of salt and water and contain no medication. They are very effective in loosening mucus and restoring moisture to your nasal passages and can be used daily. However, for chronic sinus issues, you’ll probably need additional medication.

While each type of nasal spray has its benefits, it also has its risks, including side effects. One of nasal spray’s greatest disadvantages is that it is only a temporary solution to the problem, so if you suffer from chronic allergies or sinusitis, the cost and commitment of treating your symptoms in this way will well outweigh the benefits.

At CT Sinus Center, in just about one hour, we can put an end to your sinus suffering permanently through one of our non-invasive, innovative, outpatient procedures: Balloon Sinus Dilation and Turbinate Reductions. To find out how we can help you, schedule a consultation today with our expert physicians at one of our four conveniently-located offices. With our patient-centered approach, we will walk you through everything from the initial consultation to thorough diagnostic testing to a diagnosis to a specific, individualized treatment plan that is right for you.

Call 860-BALLOON today to schedule your appointment and get help from those who “nose” how to end sinus suffering.

For more information on allergies and other sinus conditions, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.