Pearls of Wisdom

Posts for: November, 2013

By Great Hills ENT
November 25, 2013
Category: Allergy
Tags: Sinus   austin   cedar fever   mountain cedar  

 

Cooler weather and changing of the season brings several things to mind-family gatherings, holiday feasts, and, if you are like the other millions of allergy sufferers…mountain cedar sniffles!

Cedar season begins as early as November, but typically peaks in January.  Interestingly, the pollen that causes “cedar fever” is not actually cedar at all-it is from the Ashe Juniper tree, a small drought-tolerant evergreen shrub native to central Texas. The pollen of this wind-pollinated plant triggers an allergic reaction that then leads to sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, swelling of the nasal passages and increased mucus.

Why do some people have allergies? It is thought to be a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers.  What can you do about it? Well, when the pollen count is high, avoid going outside, use an air purifier, shower before bed,  and take an antihistamine (such as claritin, zyrtec, or allegra). Taking one with a decongestant may help even more.

Other medications that are currently only available by prescription may help-these include nasal steroid sprays (which decrease inflammation in the nose), nasal antihistamines, and even steroid shots. When these medications fail to improve symptoms, allergy evaluation and allergy shots (immunotherapy) are indicated.

To stay up to date on local pollen counts please click here.

                                                                                                                                                                    

 Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.


Great Hills ENT is fortunate to have a Physician Assistant (PA) providing excellent care. Some people are surprised to see a “midlevel provider” in a specialist’s office. Having someone knowledgeable, reliable, and available in the office when we are in the operating room is of great value to our patients.

Midlevel providers, PAs and Nurse Practitioners (NP) are becoming more and more prevalent in both primary care and specialty offices. Both have advanced degrees in the care and treatment of patients. They come to their expertise differently.

Obviously NPs are first nurses. They have advances classwork and clinical training after the bachelor’s degree in nursing. They combine the “nursing model” (patient care focus) with the “medical model” (disease and medical diagnosis focus). The idea is that the holistic nursing approach to the patient is applied to the medical care of the patient. NPs are found in primary care offices, specialty offices, and in the hospital. Sometimes they are members of the team. Sometimes they are really independent practitioners.

PAs are trained with a medical model. A four year undergraduate degree is followed by two to three years of intense medical training. Included in that postgraduate work is any specialty focus. Rigid science and clinical training is the hallmark of the preparation for a PA. Like NPs, PAs are found in the primary care office, specialty care office, and the hospital.  They are also valued members of the healthcare team providing a unique perspective to the care of the patient.

So don’t be surprised if you see a PA at Great Hills ENT. Ours did an ENT PA residency after earning his degree. AND, he has been practicing ENT for over 12 years! We are glad to have someone with such expertise in ENT care available every day for our patients.

 

Mark T. Brown, MD

Dr. Mark Brown is an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX. Dr. Brown is Board Certified in both Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery as well as Sleep Medicine. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.


By Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS
November 19, 2013
Category: Sleep Medicine
Tags: Sleep Apnea   sleep lab   Mark Brown   Insomnia  

                                      image courtesy of cheezburger.com

Sleeping Better Really is Important!

One of my favorite scientific article titles is “Dubious bargain: trading sleep for Leno and Letterman.” (Basner MDinges DF.Sleep. 2009 Jun;32(6):747-52.) The premise of the commentary is that people don’t value sleep – they’d rather watch late night TV. The problem lies in when the alarm is set. That part of your day doesn’t have any flexibility. Your job or family responsibilities start on schedule during the week whether you went to bed at 10:00 or at midnight. Those two hours of lost sleep have a real impact on your life.

So the question remains, are Jay Leno and David Letterman worth it? If you ask me, a sleep specialist, the answer would be a resounding NO.  Adults require 7 to 8 hours of sleep to be healthy. In this country we value effort and results to the exclusion of self. It is one of the enduring reasons why the US is the strongest and largest economy in the history of the world. We use the Edison approach; working harder and longer brings reward. And it does. But if you are not rested and ready for those longer hours your productivity suffers.

So is late night TV worth it? I think not. Not if you are trying to conquer the world. Think about your health and success then next time you are flipping on the TV instead of flipping off your brain to go to sleep. Most of the time the late night chuckles don’t profit you as much as a few more hours of shuteye.  

Mark T. Brown, MD

Dr. Mark Brown is an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist at Great Hills ENT in Austin, TX. Dr. Brown is Board Certified in both Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery as well as Sleep Medicine. Great Hills ENT serves the greater Austin area including Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders.