Feeling Dizzy? It May Signal Meniere’s Disease

The source of your dizzy spells may be an inner ear condition called Meniere's Disease.

The source of your dizzy spells may be an inner ear condition called Meniere’s Disease.

If you’re prone to experiencing dizzy spells, it may be a sign of an inner ear disorder called Meniere’s disease. Named for the French physician Prosper Ménière, who, in an article published in 1861, first reported that vertigo was caused by inner ear disorders, the condition can cause any of these primary symptoms:

  • Vertigo: Spontaneous and recurring episodes of vertigo, a sensation similar to that of spinning around quickly several times, then stopping suddenly, are a common and troubling symptom of Meniere’s Disease. You may feel as if the room is still spinning and possibly lose your balance. These episodes come on without warning and typically last between 20 minutes and two hours, though they can persist up to 24 hours. Severe vertigo can cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Hearing loss: In the early stages of the disease, hearing loss may fluctuate. But most victims eventually experience some degree of permanent hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus: Tinnitus is the perception of a ringing, buzzing, roaring, whistling or hissing sound in your ear.
  • Fullness or pressure: Those with Meniere’s disease often feel aural fullness or increased pressure in the ear.

Meniere’s Disease is thought to be caused by an imbalance of the volume, pressure and chemical composition of fluid in the ear. Factors that can alter the properties of inner ear fluid and may trigger the disease include migraine headaches, trauma to the head, allergies, an abnormal immune response, a viral infection or improper fluid draining, typically caused by a blockage or anatomic abnormality.

Of all the symptoms, vertigo arguably is the most debilitating, as it can cause a victim to lose time from work, family, social and other obligations. It also boosts the risk of potentially dangerous falls, accidents while driving or operating heavy machinery and bouts of emotional stress, depression or anxiety.

Meniere’s Disease primarily affects people in their 40s and 50s, but it can strike at any age, even during childhood. Although it’s considered a chronic disease, it can be treated. Specialists at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat can develop a customized treatment plan designed to relieve symptoms and minimize long-term impact of the condition on your daily life. If you or your dependent suffer any of the symptoms men tioned, call 904-461-6060 and schedule a consultation.

7 Facts About Your Ears

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Five Non-Medical Causes of Hearing Loss

Planning to take in a fireworks display this New Year's Eve? Keep your distance and wear protective gear, St. Augustine Ear, Nose. & Throat recommends.

Planning to take in a fireworks display this New Year’s Eve? Keep your distance and wear protective gear, St. Augustine Ear, Nose. & Throat recommends.

It might be time to rethink cruising around in your car with the tunes turned up, leaving your ear buds in while working out at your noisy gym or turning right to your OTC pain relievers to alleviate your ailments. All three of these–the noise of operating a vehicle, loud music and some medications–are associated with hearing loss. Among the other top causes of non-medical hearing loss are:

  1. Noise at work: If you’re working in a noisy environment with loud machinery or vehicles present, you really should be wearing ear protection. Ear plugs, as well as protection which fits over your ear, are great ways to protect your ears from loud noises.
  2. Explosive noises: Firework and gun shooting enthusiasts, beware. Loud explosions produced by the firecrackers and guns create strong sound waves that can rupture your eardrum or damage your inner year. Wear proper ear protection and keep as far away from the explosion as possible.
  3. Earphones and ear buds: Do you find yourself turning up the volume on your iPod to counteract the increased noise of your treadmill? Or maybe you’re out walking the dog and pass by several people mowing their lawns, so you crank up the sound. Both temporary and permanent damage can occur by using too high of a setting. Limit the amount of time you’re using your ear buds and keep the sound down.
  4. Excessive earwax buildup: Many people don’t realize it, but earwax is essential in protecting the ear. It keeps the ear canal free of bacteria and dirt, but a buildup of it can affect your hearing. While it won’t damage your ear or your hearing permanently, removing it improperly may cause harm. Don’t stick any object into your ear; contact your doctor to have the earwax removed safely and quickly.
  5. Smoking cigarettes: Did you know that your ears can be affected by smoking, just like your lungs and heart? While the later two are damaged the most, your hearing may worsen for those who don’t kick the habit. Nicotine causes blood vessels to slightly shrink, thus restricting blood flow to your inner ear. For optimal overall health it’s essential to give up smoking.

While modern medicine does allow Dr. Kalpana DePasquale and her team at St. Augustine ENT to treat hearing loss in patients, being proactive and doing whatever you can to prevent hearing loss should be your first priority. If you’ve experienced a reduction in what you can hear, contact St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat at 904-461-6060 to schedule a hearing screening and treatment consultation today.

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.

St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat Sponsors Davidson Cares

St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat is a proud sponsor of Davidson Cares, a fundraising program benefiting local schools.

St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat is a proud sponsor of Davidson Cares, a fundraising program benefiting local schools.

The health of a community depends on multiple factors – among them, a rich education for its youngest members. That’s why St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat founder Dr. Kalpana DePasquale is excited to sponsor Davidson  Cares, a successful corporate giving program that benefits several St. Augustine Schools.

Davidson Cares raises funds to support and enhance educational programs in the World Golf Village Area including Mill Creek Elementary, Wards Creek Elementary, Palencia Elementary and Pacetti Bay Middle School. And there are plenty of fun ways you can help via the Davidson Cares 2.0 fundraising project.

It all starts October 28 with a travel raffle that awards one lucky winner $2,500 toward a fun family vacation. The prize includes airfare, accommodations and trip entertainment. The winner will be announced February 8, 2014 at the Davidson Cares 5K Race. The race is open to runners, walkers, stroller-pushers and dog lovers everywhere and features lots of activities for the little ones, including a mile-long kids’ run.

And, mark your calendars for Friday, November 8 for the Second Annual Davidson Cares Fundraiser. It’s co-hosted by St. Augustine’s Mile Marker Brewing and features delicious food, samples of top brews and raffles for dozens of great items – all for a worthy cause.

Join St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat and Davidson Cares in helping to improve education for local children. Visit DavidsonCares.com to find out how you can participate.

St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat Names New Office Manager, Expands Hours

Ashley Perez

Ashley Perez

St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat and Avanti Medical Spa recently announced its promotion of Ashley Perez to the position of office manager. Perez joined the practice in 2011 as a receptionist and has seven years of experience in office billing and insurance administration in the chiropractic, physical occupational therapy and veterinary fields.

Perez’s new responsibilities include overseeing front office staff, patient scheduling, practice and surgery coordination, medical records administration, billing and patient satisfaction surveys. She also will assist in making decisions concerning hiring, equipment upgrades, medical system advancements and inventory, and will be an integral part of setting goals and expanding the practice. Perez holds an A.A. degree from Santa Fe College in Gainesville.

Dr. Kalpana DePasquale

Dr. Kalpana DePasquale

Dr. Kalpana DePasquale, DO and founder of St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat and Avanti Medical Spa also announced expansion details. The practice now will offer advanced treatments and management of ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders at Flagler Multi-Specialty Care located in the Shoppes at Murabella in St. Augustine. Dr. DePasquale will see patients at the center on Wednesdays, 8 a.m. – noon by appointment.

“This thriving region is expanding with its population of families and retirees who require specialized medical attention in ENT,” said Dr. DePasquale of the decision to offer more services in northwest St. Johns County. She also is affiliated with Baptist Medical Center South in Jacksonville and Saint Augustine Surgery Center.

See also:

The Jacksonville Business Journal
The St. Augustine Record
Florida Times Union

When Snoring Gets Serious – How to Know if You Have Sleep Apnea

Feel like nodding off at work? You may have sleep apnea.

Feel like nodding off at work? You may have sleep apnea.

Snoring elicits plenty of jokes, not to mention bruises from elbow jabs by sleeping partners. But when it’s more than a simple snore, it’s no laughing matter. In fact, loud habitual snoring can be a telltale sign that you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially life threatening disorder.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing pauses or significantly slows while you’re sleeping because the airway has become narrowed, blocked or floppy. Affecting one in five adults, OSA can involve a variety of obstruction types including excess tissue, large tonsils or tongue or a problem with the airway muscles, nasal passages or jaw position. Such obstructions cause momentary cessations of breathing or “apneas” and your impulses respond by waking you.

Mild sleep apnea sufferers generally have more than 30 apneas during a seven-hour sleep. In severe cases, one may be unable to breathe for periods of 60 to 90 seconds, and this may recur up to 500 times a night. Depending upon the severity of your case, OSA symptoms can affect multiple areas of your life, work, relationships and health:

  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Problem with mental function
  • Poor judgment or inability to focus
  • Memory loss
  • Quick temper
  • High blood pressure
  • Nighttime chest pain
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Excess weight gain
  • Sore throat
  • Enlargement of the neck
  • Airway crowding
  • Morning headaches
  • Reduced libido
  • Frequent nighttime bathroom trips

Left untreated, OSA can pose serious health risks including heart attacks, strokes, irregular heart beat or hear t disease. Though sleep apnea is a chronic condition typically requiring lifelong treatment, there are multiple options for managing your case and significantly reducing related life-threatening issues. If you suffer sleep apnea and are ready for a good night’s sleep, contact St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat at 904-461-6060 or via our online appointment scheduling form.

Pregnancy and Nosebleeds – Why they Happen, How to Avoid Them

Increasing your fluid intake can help prevent or minimize nosebleeds common during pregnancy, say specialists with St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat.

Increasing your fluid intake can help prevent or minimize nosebleeds common during pregnancy, say specialists with St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat.

All the books, websites and friendly advice in the world won’t fully prepare you for what you’ll experience during pregnancy. Among the common, but lesser talked about symptoms of pregnancy is nosebleeds. While they’re typically not a sign of trouble, they certainly can be frustrating and often a little unnerving for the first-time expectant mom.

During the nine months that you’re carrying your baby, your body will produce significantly more blood than normal – up to 50 percent more than the average female. This extra blood is needed to support nourishment to the baby and to keep your own enlarged organs healthy. But it can be taxing on deli

cate blood vessels. Added pressure that extra blood places on vessel walls can cause them to burst and cause a nosebleed.

The good news is that these nosebleeds generally are harmless to you and your baby. And while the increased blood supply may slow down the clotting process, your nosebleed will stop on its own.

Luckily, there are ways to prevent or minimize nosebleeds during your pregnancy:

  • Boost your fluid intake. This will help keep your nostrils hydrated and reduce the chance of nosebleeds.
  • Lubricate your nostrils. Just a small amount of petroleum or water-based jelly swept across the inner skin of your nose with a Q-tip will help keep them from drying out.
  • If you have to sneeze, open your mouth. Closing your mouth while sneezing places enough pressure on the nose to start a bleed.

There are a few instances in which a nosebleed may warrant a doctor’s attention. If a nosebleed occurs after an expectant mother hits her head, or of a bleed doesn’t stop within 20 minutes, see a doctor immediately.

If your nosebleeds persist or become overwhelming, specialists at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat can help. Contact us at 904-461-6060 or via our online email form.