St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat Holds Grand Opening Celebration

In celebration of its beautiful new Ponte Vedra location, St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat is holding a grand opening celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 4pm – and you’re invited! Located in The Shoppes at St. Johns Oaks at 145 Hidden Road, Suite 123, the firm serves area residents with expert management of ear, nose and throat disorders, thyroid disease, allergies and medical spa procedures.

Founder and nationally renowned physician Dr. Kalpana DePasquale and her dedicated staff, including Dr. Zeeshan Aziz, MD, a board-certified ENT and thyroid specialist and aesthetic reconstructive facial plastic surgeon; and Amy Dugan, PA-C, a long-time physician assistant with experience in critical care, infectious disease and OBGYN, will be on hand to mingle with fellow members of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce as well as current and prospective patients, friends and their families. Dr. DePasquale is board certified in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery.

The beautifully appointed facility opened during the summer and features spacious reception areas; separate waiting rooms and exam rooms for patients of both St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat and its sister firm, Avanti Medical Spa; plus procedure and treatment rooms. Patients are welcome for walk-in and scheduled appointments Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am-4pm and Wednesday, 9am-noon.

Stop by to meet the staff; enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and a variety of non-alchoholic beverages; and take a chance on winning door prizes and raffles with all raffle proceed benefiting the 26.2 with Donna Foundation to support breast cancer research and care. The event is sponsored by Acclarent, Propel, Nurse on Call and A1 Imaging.

St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat Expands with New Ponte Vedra Beach Location

St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throats new Ponte Vedra Beach location will open in April.

St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throats new Ponte Vedra Beach location will open in April.

For over a decade, St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat has served Northeast Florida residents with management of ear, nose and throat disorders, thyroid disease, allergies and medical spa procedures. Now, the practice founded by the nationally renowned Dr. Kalpana DePasquale is expanding into the Ponte Vedra area.

Slated to open in early April, the new SAENT office space is currently undergoing a build-out in The Shoppes at St. Johns Oaks at 145 Hilden Road, Suite 123. When the construction dust settles, the space will feature spacious reception areas; separate waiting rooms and exam rooms for patients of both St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat and its sister firm, Avanti Medical Spa; plus procedure and treatment rooms. Patients will be welcomed via a natural stone entryway and made to feel at home in the beautifully appointed space.

Joining Dr. DePasquale at the new location are Dr. Zeeshan Aziz, MD, a board-certified ENT and thyroid specialist and aesthetic reconstructive facial plastic surgeon; and Amy Dugan, PA-C, a long-time physician assistant with experience in critical care, infectious disease and OBGYN.

Upon its early April opening, the new office will take both scheduled and walk-in appointments Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am-4pm and Wednesday, 9am-noon. Services will include a range of advanced ENT and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures. Plus, retail space will be devoted to products by Avanti Rx, Dr. DePasquale’s physician-formulated, botanical skin care line.

If you or your child suffer ear, nose or throat issues, call 904-461-6060 to schedule an appointment at our primary location at 1301 Plantation Island Drive S. in St. Augustine, or our new Ponte Vedra Beach office.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism & Hypothyroidism

If you've experienced unexplained weight gain, your thyroid could be to blame.

If you’ve experienced unexplained weight gain, your thyroid could be to blame.

Known as the “great regulator of mind and body,” the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that produces hormones credited with controlling metabolism, the system that helps the body use energy. But when your thyroid goes into overdrive, producing too little or too much hormone, it can wreak havoc on your body and health.

When your thyroid gland produces too much hormone, it’s called hyperthyroidism, while a low level of the same hormone is referred to as hypothyroidism. Symptoms of each include…

Hyperthyroidism:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Sped-up heart rate
  • Feelings of anxiety, irritability, restlessness or trouble sleeping
  • Excessive sweating or an aversion to heat
  • Muscle weakness or trembling hands
  • Vision problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular menstrual periods

Hypothyroidism:

  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Fatigue or feelings of depression
  • Feeling cold
  • Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal menstrual periods

Additionally, hair loss or swelling in the neck can be caused by either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Both issues tend to affect women more than men, and hypothyroidism is particularly common among women over 60. Other risk factors include a family history or personal history of either issue, or any autoimmune disease.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, treatment is critical. Contact St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat at 904-461-6060 to schedule an appointment with our Thyroid Specialist, Dr. Zeeshan Aziz.

That Smell! Common Reasons for Olfactory Loss

Our sense of smell is an underestimated boost to our quality of life. So when it's lost, medical treatment is critical.

Our sense of smell is an underestimated boost to our quality of life. So when it’s lost, medical treatment is critical.

Breakfast on the griddle, jasmine in the garden, your lover’s favorite perfume – No doubt each of these conjure a particular pleasing emotion. After all, our sense of smell, more than any other of the senses, is psychologically linked with memory and can have a profound effect on the ways in which we connect with the world around us.

So, imagine for a moment, that you’ve lost your sense of smell. Scary, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common occurrence. Among the top direct or indirect contributing factors to a partial or full loss of the ability to smell are:

  • Nasal obstructions (nasal polyps)
  • Degenerative nerve disease
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as pesticides or solvents
  • Head and neck cancers and related radiation treatments
  • Chronic respiratory infections
  • Oral disease
  • Radiation therapy
  • Dementia, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s
  • Traumatic head injuries
  • Hormonal disturbances
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Certain medications or drug abuse
  • Advanced age

Any of these conditions can negatively affect the functionality of not only your olfactory nerve cells (those responsible for your sense of smell) but also your gustatory nerve cells (those responsible for taste). And that loss of functionality can affect not only your quality of life, but your safety and perhaps your very life as well. For example, the smell of certain gasses, smoke or spoiled foods can alert us to danger, allowing us to act before it’s too late. And, research on the psychology of smell shows that body odor, produced by the genes which make up our immune system, can help us subconsciously choose our life partners.

While most people would report a loss of sight or hearing as a top worry, it’s clear that the loss of smell is a far underestimated misfortune. Fortunately, however, help is available.

If you suspect you’re beginning to lose your sense of smell, a highly trained otolaryngologist can perform a thorough examination of your head and neck to pinpoint signs of infections, inflammation or physical obstruction that may be affecting your sense of smell or taste. Treatment options may include prescription or over-the-counter medications including decongestants or antibiotics, or surgery to remove nasal polyps or other obstructions. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes, including nixing your smoking habit.

To find out which treatment option may best address your loss of smell, contact St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat at 904-461-6060 or via our online email form.

Ear Wax – Why it’s a Good Thing

Put down that Q-Tip! Ear wax can be a protective health benefit.

Put down that Q-Tip! Ear wax can be a protective health benefit.

Ear wax isn’t exactly the most pleasant of conversational topics. Yet it’s one of the body’s most amazing self-protection mechanisms. Yes – as “gross” as it may seem, ear wax is highly beneficial to your auditory health.

Much like eyelashes and nose hair, ear wax helps protect your body from would-be invaders. It bars dust, bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms from entering your body via your ear canal. Otherwise, these intruders could irritate or inflame skin, or even cause an infection. But it does more than just block intruders. There’s evidence that cerumen (ear wax’s technical name) also contains lysozyme, an antibacterial enzyme that can destroy bacterial cell walls.

Earwax also acts as a lubricant that keeps you’re the inside of your ears from drying out and itching. And, it’s largely self-cleaning. Movement of the jaw while chewing or talking helps to keep earwax on the move, gradually traveling from the eardrum to the ear’s opening. There, it can dry up and flake off or fall out all on its own – no Q-Tip is ever necessary.

Of course, there are times that wax can prove harmful if it builds up and impacts inside the ear. Results can include earaches, dizziness, vertigo, swelling of the ear canal, perforation of the tympanic membrane (commonly known as the eardrum) and even hearing loss.

If you’re suffering from a buildup of excessive earwax, do not to remove it on your own. Medications can be prescribed, or earwax can be safely removed by a specialist at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat. Call 904-461-6060 to schedule an appointment.

Are you Ready for an Allergic Asthma Attack?

Do you know exactly how to use you inhaler? Practicing its use can help keep you calm in the event of an unexpected allergy or asthma attack.

Do you know exactly how to use you inhaler? Practicing its use can help keep you calm in the event of an unexpected allergy or asthma attack.

The best course of action for an allergy sufferer is to know and avoid allergy triggers. But that’s not always possible. One can easily avoid cats, but knowing when a pet left a hair on the sweater your coworker wears to work is impossible, for instance. And for those whose allergies are triggered by pollen, dodging a sudden summer storm takes all but moving to the desert.

Luckily, there are ways to prepare for the inevitable and respond quickly when an allergic reaction or asthma attack hits unexpectedly:

  • Always have your medications close at hand and make sure you know exactly how to use them. This is particularly important if you use an inhaler or an epinephrine injector, as your stress level may be high during an allergy or asthma attack. You also may need to take a higher dosage of a medication depending upon the severity of your attack.
  • Get protected early on. Many allergy and asthma specialists will recommend you get a flu shot each fall. That’s because respiratory infections like the flu can significantly effect your lung function, making you more susceptible to an attack.
  • Rise, shine and check the forecast. Weather and air quality reports for your geographical area are easily found online and typically are broadcast on morning radio and TV news shows. Also, check your local office of the American Lung Association to sign up for local air quality text alerts. If possible, plan to stay inside on days whe air quality is poor and prone to triggering an allergic or non-allergic asthma spell.
  • Stay calm and breathe. Anxiety can make your allergic reactions worse. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, rapid and shallow breathing techniques aimed at stopping hyperventilation can help you quickly reduce or even avoid certain symptoms of an asthma attack. Many patients say yoga breathing techniques help them thwart asthma attacks as well.
  • Be wary of changes. If you notice an increase in the rate at which you need to use your quick-relief medications, it may be time to boost your dosage or change your medications altogether. Talk with your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Know when to seek medical help. Most asthma attacks can be quickly and effectively manged with prescribed medications and techniques. But a severe attack may require more intense and immediate medical treatment. Store phone numbers for your doctor’s office and other emergency contacts in your cell phone or keep them in a pocket, wallet or purse and make sure anyone you’re traveling with knows how to find them.

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, medical treatment by an experienced specialist is a must. Call 904-461-6060 to schedule a consultation today.

Another Great Reason to Kick the Smoking Habit: Protecting your Hearing

A new report suggests a strong link between smoking and hearing loss - Another great reason to add smoking cessation to your New Year's resolutions.

A new report suggests a strong link between smoking and hearing loss – Another great reason to add smoking cessation to your New Year’s resolutions.

Kicking the cigarette habit tops New Year resolutions lists for millions of Americans, and for multiple reasons. Stopping smoking improves your circulation; lowers you risk of a multitude of health ailments including lung disease or cancer, heart attack or stroke, coronary disease, throat cancer, emphysema and allergies; boosts lung function, allowing you to breathe easier; and improves the look of your skin, hair and fingernails.

But there’s another great reason to nix the habit, says Dr. Kalpana DePasqaule of St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat. Though it hasn’t been studied as deeply as links with other complications, smoking has been known by scientists and doctors for decades to have a link with hearing loss. And a recently published report AudiologyOnline from Western Michigan University backs that claim.

The hearing process and mechanisms are extremely complex. When a sound is produced, it activates a disturbance in the air in the form of sound waves. These sound waves travel into the outer ear and down the ear canal, where they vibrate the tympanic membrane, more commonly known as the ear drum. The vibrations then pass through three small bones to the fluid- and blood-filled cochlea and are picked up by tiny, hair-like cells, which transmit sound to the brain via electrical impulses along the auditory nerve.

WMU’s report suggests that the myriad of toxic chemicals drawn into the body with each inhalation of cigarette smoke can significantly affect the middle ear vibrations and the inner ear hair cells. It’s no surprise when you consider that those toxins include formaldehyde, benzene, arsenic, vinyl chloride, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide and upward of 1,000 other substances. It’s believed that these adverse effects happen in three ways:

  1. Nicotine and carbon monoxide may deplete oxygen levels in the cochlea, which can cause tissue damage;
  2. Nicotine also is thought to damage neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve. These neurotransmitters essentially function as chemical messengers to the brain. If they’re damaged, they’re unable to deliver those messages;
  3. Environmental toxins introduced into the body during adolescence, when mechanisms within the hearing nerve are not yet fully developed, can cause significant damage and impair further development.

If you’re a smoker determined to kick the habit, there no doubt are services in your area to help. Did you start smoking as an adolescent, or have you smoked for a long period of time? If so, call 904-461-6060 and schedule a hearing screening today. We’ll help you determine whether you’ve suffered hearing loss and discuss ways to help improve your hearing.

Neck Lumps – St. Augustine ENT Specialist Explains When it’s Serious

That lump in your neck could be a symptom of a simple virus, or a sign of something much more serious.

That lump in your neck could be a symptom of a simple virus, or a sign of something much more serious.

Wintertime often brings sniffling, sneezing and those strange lumps that pop up in the neck area now and then. Most often, that lump is nothing more than a swollen lymph gland, a benign enlargement caused by a bacterial or viral infection such as strep throat. It’s nothing a round of antibiotics or a passage of time won’t heal.

But when a lump persists for more than two weeks, it’s a red flag that something far more serious could be going on. One possible cause for lumps in the neck is a dysfunction of the thyroid gland that’s curable with medications or surgery. But swelling in the lymph nodes also can be an early indication of some head, neck or throat cancers, particularly among smokers.

A network of lymph nodes spreads throughout the body, but those affected by head and neck cancers primarily are located down the side of the neck to just above the clavicle, under the chin line and behind the ears. Certain cancers, including Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, can begin in the lymph nodes. Other cancers begin elsewhere and can spread to the head, neck and other areas via the lymph system or blood stream.

Neck lumps can be very serious if they’re accompanied by:

  • A growth on the tongue or mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ulcerated skin conditions
  • An enlarged thyroid gland
  • Bleeding in the nose, mouth, throat or lungs
  • Persistent pain or earache
  • Severe hoarseness or sore throat
  • A change in the sound of your voice
  • Bluish-black spots on the head or neck

If you’re concerned about neck lumps, you need to see an otolaryngologist. St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat’s Dr. Kalpana DePasquale can determine whether it’s a benign symptom of a viral or bacterial infection, or something more urgent. Call 904-461-6060 to schedule an appointment today.

Get Ready for the Onslaught of Fall Allergens, Allergy Specialists in St. Augustine Say

Late summer rains mean autumn allergies may be tougher this year.

Late summer rains mean autumn allergies may be tougher this year.

The fall season is upon us. For most, that means hay rides, bonfires and, before you know it, Christmas tree decorating. But if you’re among the estimated 40 million Americans suffering fall allergies, the holiday season isn’t quite so happy, say allergy specialists with St. Augustine’s St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat.

June begins Jacksonville’s rainiest season, peaking in September with an average eight inches of rainfall. While the rain does help wash away the pollen, there’s a catch that allergy sufferers know all too well. Before washing the pollen away, raindrops will burst pollen particles, releasing tiny specks of it into the air at much higher concentrations. When patients inhale this fragmented pollen, it can trigger an allergic reaction.

This year, the ordeal may be worse than normal for allergy patients in Northeast Florida, thanks to record rainfall in parts of the South. All that rain has ragweed and grass pollen flourishing. And where there’s rain, there often soon is mold. Heavy rainfall mixed with the seasonal dying off of trees and plants means damp, decaying plant matter – a breeding ground for mold. Though you don’t see it, microscopic mold spores can fill the air around you.

As the holiday season progresses, so too does the risk of allergic reactions. Seasonal greenery, wood-burning fires, and mold that settles into damp evergreens like wreaths, boughs and Christmas trees are common seasonal allergens that can wreak havoc on your holidays.

To help keep your allergies at bay during the holiday season, call 904-461-6060 and schedule a consultation with an allergy specialist at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat.

Brandie Kirkland promoted to administrative assistant at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat and Avanti Medical Spa

Brandie Kirkland, Administrative Assistant

Brandie Kirkland, Administrative Assistant

St. Augustine, Fla. – August 6, 2013 – Dr. Kalpana DePasquale, DO and founder of St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat and Avanti Medical Spa, has promoted Brandie Kirkland to the position of administrative assistant. Kirkland joined the practice in 2011 as a medical receptionist. In her new role, Kirkland will provide support for payroll and staff scheduling, medical compliance, insurance and co-insurance processing, and patient scheduling, tracking and reminders. She will also assist with computer and IT functions and coordinating informational seminars. Kirkland is responsible for working with medical and aesthetics staff during ear, nose and throat (ENT) patient procedures and medical spa treatments.

Kirkland has more than three years of experience in the medical field as a patient scheduling and billing coordinator and with insurance collections along with diagnostic coding. She attended Fletcher High School in Jacksonville and graduated from Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine. Kirkland was born in Palatka. She resides in St. Augustine.

Dr. DePasquale is the founding physician at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat, LLC and Avanti Medical Spa, LLC. She has been practicing as a specialist in ear, nose and throat (ENT) medicine since 2003 and is board certified in Otolaryngology. Dr. DePasquale is focused on the complexities of the head and neck anatomy, medicine and surgery for patients of all ages. At Avanti Medical Spa, Dr. DePasquale has in-depth knowledge of facial aesthetics and performs non-invasive cosmetic procedures with rejuvenating facial treatments, non-invasive skin tightening and skin resurfacing with additional services. She recently developed Avanti Rx, a physician-formulated proprietary skin care line for men and women that utilizes medical grade quality ingredients and botanicals.

The practice is located at 1301 Plantation Island Drive S., Suite 401 in St. Augustine with a satellite office at Flagler Multi-Specialty Care at the Shoppes at Murabella, 52 Tuscan Way, Suite 203 in northwest St. Johns County. For more information, call 904.461.6060. Visit the websites at www.saent.net and www.avantimedspa.net.