Our family-friendly office offers a full spectrum of adult and pediatric diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical services for all problems involving the ear, nose, and throat.
Our physicians, Samuel L. Hill, III, MD, FACS, FAAOA, Patrick M. Reidy, MD, Leela Lavasani, MD, FACS, Price Sonkarley, MD, FACS and Sue-Lay Plasencia, DNP, ARNP, NP-C, are Board Certified, fellowship trained specialists who are supported by a team of highly skilled medical professionals.
Our family-friendly office offers a full spectrum of adult and pediatric diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical services for all problems involving the ear, nose, and throat.Our physicians, Samuel L. Hill, III, MD, FACS, FAAOA, Patrick M. Reidy, MD, Leela Lavasani, MD, FACS, Price Sonkarley, MD, FACS and Sue-Lay Plasencia, DNP, ARNP, NP-C, are Board Certified, fellowship trained specialists who are supported by a team of highly skilled medical professionals.
Rhinitis is an incredibly common condition, affecting more than 20 million adults and more than 7 million children in the United States each year. Rhinitis means inflammation of the nose and is characterized by symptoms resulting from inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane. Rhinitis is frequently confused with sinusitis (inflammation of the sinus spaces), and most people who think they have sinusitis are really suffering from chronic rhinitis.Symptoms- Nasal congestion Difficult breathing Sneezing Runny nose Post-nasal drainage Itchy nose HeadachesRhinitis features inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes, a moist tissue that lines the nasal cavity. The purpose of this membrane is to trap dust, pollen, bacteria, viruses and other particles in a thin fluid called mucus. Tiny hairs called cilia move the particles down the throat. This keeps the air that goes into your lungs clean and free of debris. When this membrane becomes irritated, it can cause reactions such as thickened mucus, swelling, stuffy nose, difficulty breathing, sneezing and headaches. While rhinitis usually isnt serious, its symptoms can negatively impact sleeping, exercising, and other daily activities. Rhinitis can be acute or chronic. Acute rhinitis is temporary, lasting a few days in most people. In others, chronic rhinitis can last weeks or months, and often recurs.ALLERGIC RHINITISMost commonly, rhinitis is caused by an allergen. An allergen is a substance that a persons immune system recognizes as foreign or dangerous. As a result, the immune system reacts by making a type of antibody (a protein intended to neutralize the foreign substance) called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) to defend against the allergen. This reaction leads to the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine. When an allergen is the cause, it is called allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergen that appears at a certain time of the year, such as tree pollen in the spring, grass pollen in the summer, and weed pollen and mold spores in the fall. Perennial allergic rhinitis can exist year-round from exposure to certain foods and medicines, pets and other animals, and dust mites in carpeting and upholstery. Southwest Florida is in a tropical climate zone. While allergens here do have seasonal variation, the growing season is 12 months long, making perennial symptoms much more common than in more northern climate zones. Common Allergens- Pollen, Drugs and medicines, Dust, Mites, Certian Beverages, Mold or fungal spores, insect venom animal proteins and dander and Chemicals.When you visit Florida Gulf Coast ENT with suspected rhinitis, your physician will ask you about your symptoms, including when they began, the severity, frequency, known triggers, and progression. Your physician will want to know what treatments youve tried and if theyve been successful, and will ask about your medical history and any prior allergy testing, lab testing or imaging. Your physician will examine the inside of your nose to evaluate the color of your nasal membrane, the amount, color and consistency of mucus, and look for swelling and any abnormalities that could be causing or contributing to your symptoms, such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps. Your physician may perform a nasal endoscopy, which uses a small camera and light to visualize the sinus openings and the back of the nose all the way to the nasopharynx and throat. Depending on what is seen in the physical exam, additional tests may be performed, such as allergy tests, pulmonary function tests, lab testing, x-rays or CAT scans. Florida Gulf Coast ENT can perform a number of these diagnostic tests in the office for your convenience. Once a diagnosis of rhinitis is made, your physician will develop a personalized treatment plan to help you reduce or eliminate known causes and triggers and control your symptoms with avoidance measures, environmental control, medications, immunotherapy or surgery. Treatment of allergic rhinitis is based on the type and severity of symptoms, in addition to a persons age, other medical conditions, daily medications, and overall health. A personalized treatment plan is required to manage allergy problems, as each individual experiences their allergy symptoms differently. Your physician at Florida Gulf Coast ENT can help you determine appropriate treatment.Initial Treatments for Allergic RhinitisAllergy testing with counseling and avoidance of the substances that trigger the allergies. Nasal irrigation flushes saline (a saltwater solution) through your nasal cavity to remove allergens and excess mucus, and to moisten the mucous membranes. This can be done with a squeeze bottle or with a number of different irrigation devices found at your local pharmacy. Antihistamines reduce or block histamine, the major inflammatory chemical your body produces in reaction to an allergen. These medications can help with itchiness, runny nose, and sneezing, but are less effective at easing congestion. Antihistamines are available as tablets, capsules, liquids, nasal sprays, and eyedrops. They are available in both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) formulas. Nasal corticosteroid sprays reduce nasal inflammation and swelling and excess mucus, making it easier to breathe. They also ease congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itching. They are available in both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) formulas. Decongestants reduce congestion by shrinking swollen blood vessels and nasal tissue. They dont ease sneezing or itching symptoms. Decongestants are available as tablets, liquids, nasal drops, and nasal sprays. They are available in prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) formulas. Some are available without a prescription but must be obtained from behind the pharmacy counter. Decongestants can have adverse effects on blood pressure and heart function. They should be used with caution or under doctor supervision. Initial Treatments for Allergic Rhinitis Medications don't improve symptoms in Medications don't improve symptoms in every individual. Some people require every individual. Some people require daily medications or multiple daily medications or multiple medications to control their symptoms. medications to control their symptoms. In these cases, it's better to control the In these cases, it's better to control the symptoms by stopping the allergic symptoms by stopping the allergic reaction from occurring. There are reaction from occurring. There are therapies that will change the immune therapies that will change the immune system and make a person less allergic .system and make a person less allergic. Allergy immunotherapy Allergy immunotherapy uses injections uses injections or sublingual (under the tongue) drops to or sublingual (under the tongue) drops to expose a person to small, increasing expose a person to small, increasing doses of a known allergen. Over time, this doses of a known allergen. Over time, this reduces the IgE antibodies while building reduces the IgE antibodies while building blocking antibodies that eliminate blocking antibodies that eliminate allergens from the body, helping to allergens from the body, helping to develop tolerance to the allergen. This develop tolerance to the allergen. This makes the person less allergic and makes the person less allergic and reduces or eliminates symptoms .reduces or eliminates symptoms. Overuse of decongestant nasal drops or Overuse of decongestant nasal drops or sprays can cause even more severe nasal sprays can cause even more severe nasal congestion when the decongestant congestion when the decongestant wears off, called rebound congestion. wears off, called rebound congestion. Talk to your physician at Florida Gulf Talk to your physician at Florida Gulf Coast ENT about proper usage of Coast ENT about proper usage of decongestants .decongestants .Allergy immunotherapy is the best long-term alternative for chronic allergic rhinitis symptoms. There are no procedures that will cure allergies, but some can reduce specific allergic rhinitis symptoms, including improved breathing and decreased sense of congestion. The procedures may reduce sense of ear fullness and pressure, facial pressure, and may reduce nasal drainage. The options include both surgical and less invasive in-office procedures. ALLERGIC RHINITIS- Overuse of decongestant nasal drops or sprays can cause even more severe nasal sprays can cause even more severe nasal congestion when the decongestant congestion when the decongestant wears off, called rebound congestion .wears off, called rebound congestion. Talk to your physician at Florida Gulf Talk to your physician at Florida Gulf Coast ENT about proper usage of Coast ENT about proper usage of decongestants.Allergy immunotherapy is the best long-term alternative for chronic allergic rhinitis symptoms. There are no procedures that will cure allergies, but some can reduce specific allergic rhinitis symptoms, including improved breathing and decreased sense of congestion. The procedures may reduce sense of ear fullness and pressure, facial pressure, and may reduce nasal drainage. The options include both surgical and less invasive in-office procedures. ALLERGIC RHINITIS Common Allergens Procedural Options for Allergic Rhinitis Inferior Turbinoplasty Nasal obstruction is commonly caused by enlargement of structures in the nose called the turbinates. Most people have never heard of the turbinates, but almost everybody has complained about their turbinates numerous times in their life. These structures are full of glandular tissue that can expand like a grape or shrink like a raisin. A very successful and minimally invasive procedure, called a turbinoplasty, removes the glandular tissue from the turbinate, reducing its size, prohibiting further growth, and reducing obstruction in the nasal cavity. The procedure is over 90% successful at improving breathing and nasal congestion, is well-tolerated and performed easily in the office, and has few restrictions or risks following the procedure. Intranasal Ablations Intranasal ablation procedures work on specific areas of swelling in the nasal cavity to improve the openness of the nasal cavities and sinuses. Ablations decrease the glandular tissue that causes nasal obstruction, congestion, and drainage. Ablations to some of the nasal nerves can decrease the stimulation of the glands to produce mucus, reducing nasal drainage. This works especially well in individuals who frequently feel thin watery drainage running out of their nose, a condition frequently worsened by eating. Some of the most common ablation procedures are known as the Rhinaer and Clarifix procedures. The physicians at Florida Gulf Coast ENT have access to multiple ablation devices that can treat each individuals needs. Balloon Sinuplasty While typically performed specifically for chronic sinusitis, balloon sinuplasty can benefit patients with chronic rhinitis who are prone to more frequent nasal infections. Balloon sinuplasty opens the sinus drainage tracts to allow for better drainage and equalization of pressure. It can be performed safely and easily in the office with minimal post-procedure restrictions or risks. Rhinoplasty Typically a cosmetic procedure, some external and cosmetic nasal defects can significantly affect nasal breathing. Florida Gulf Coast ENT has physicians who specialize in rhinoplasty for both functional and cosmetic reasons.Septoplasty The nasal septum (the cartilage and bone in the middle of the nose that should divide the nose into two equal halves) is one of the most common reasons for chronic nasal obstruction. As we age, and in response to specific nasal or facial trauma, this cartilage and bone begins to shift away from the center, narrowing the breathing passages. Septoplasty surgery can provide significant improvement in nasal breathing and reduce the number of sinus infections in certain individuals. It is typically performed at a surgery center or hospital under general anesthesia. However, some deviations can be improved with in-office procedures. In-office balloon assisted septoplasty is becoming a more common procedure. It's currently not covered by insurance, but is a less invasive option that can be performed in the office to improve nasal breathing. Chronic inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane can nasal mucous membrane can cause nasal polyps, sinusitis, or cause nasal polyps, sinusitis, or middle ear infections. Talk to middle ear infections. Talk to your physician about your physician about controlling your symptoms to controlling your symptoms to help prevent these help prevent these complications.NON-ALLERGIC RHINITISNon-allergic rhinitis is caused by something other than an allergic reaction. A diagnosis of non-allergic rhinitis is made after an allergic cause is ruled out. Even if you do have allergies, non-allergic rhinitis can develop from other causes, including: Nasal blockages Bacterial infections and viruses Certain medications Certain foods and beverages, including alcohol Odors or irritants in the air Weather or temperature changes Aging Hormonal changes or pregnancy Inflammation or irritation in the nose unrelated to allergy Other health conditions Treatment of Non-Allergic Rhinitis Your physician at Florida Gulf Coast ENT can help rule out allergic rhinitis and help determine the cause for non-allergic rhinitis. If a cause can be determined, that trigger should be avoided as much as possible, or treated appropriately if it's another medical condition such as an infection. Often, the cause of non-allergic rhinitis cant be determined, but your physician can help you control the symptoms. While there are fewer medication options for treating non-allergic rhinitis, there are some office procedures that may help to alleviate the symptoms. The physicians at Florida Gulf Coast ENT have access to all available technologies that might improve breathing and drainage in those who suffer from non-allergic rhinitis. Non-allergic rhinitis doesn't typically cause itchy nose, eyes or throat. Non-allergic rhinitis doesn't typically cause itchy nose, eyes or throat. If non-allergic rhinitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, If non-allergic rhinitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, fever may be present. fever may be present. Asthma Sinusitis Conjunctivitis Dermatitis Eustachian tube dysfunction Nasal polyps Sleep disturbance RELATED CONDITIONSThere are many other conditions that feature symptoms similar to those of rhinitis. These conditions may or may not exist concurrently with rhinitis. Its important to talk to your physician at Florida Gulf Coast ENT about your symptoms to determine the particular condition and treatment. Asthma Sinusitis Conjunctivitis Dermatitis Eustachian tube dysfunction Nasal polyps Sleep disturbance.
What Are the Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands? The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just above the collarbone. It has two lobes, with one lobe on each side of the windpipe. As part of the endocrine system, it produces hormones, known as T3 and T4, that regulate metabolismthe speed at which cells in the body work and affects other functions, such as heart rate and energy level. The four rice-sized parathyroid glands are located behind the thyroid, deep within the neck. They control the amount of calcium in the bloodstream. Calcium plays a critical role in the electrical functions of the body. Thyroid problems affect 20 million Americans, and women experience thyroid problems five to eight times more than men. Most thyroid diseases are lifelong conditions but can usually be managed with a variety of treatments.THYROID DISORDERS The most common thyroid disorders are caused by an imbalance of hormones. Its critical that the thyroid produces the correct amount of hormones. If too little thyroid hormone is produced, this is hypothyroidism; if too much is produced, this is hyperthyroidism. Both can affect many functions in the body. Weight gain Fatigue Increased sensitivity to cold Dry skin Constipation Muscle weakness Problems with memory or concentration Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include: HYPOTHYROIDISIM When the thyroid gland produces too little hormone, this is known as hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism affects up to 5% of the U.S. population, with a further estimated 5% being undiagnosed.Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:Weight gain Fatigue Increased sensitivity to cold Dry skin Constipation Muscle weakness Problems with memory or concentrationHypothyroidism can be caused by: Hashimotos Disease. This disorder causes the body's immune system to attack thyroid tissue and eventually destroy the thyroid gland, leading to the underproduction of thyroid hormone. Over-response to hyperthyroidism treatment. People who produce too much thyroid hormone are often treated with medications to reduce the hormone, and sometimes the body can then produce too little. Thyroid surgery. Removing any part of the thyroid gland can reduce hormone production. Radiation therapy. Radiation used to treat cancers of the head and neck can reduce hormone production. Medications. Several medications can contribute to hypothyroidism. Be sure to understand the side effects of any medications youre taking so your doctor can monitor your thyroid function. Hypothyroidism can be caused by: Treatment of Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is commonly treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Taken orally, this medication increases the amount of thyroid hormone the body produces.When the thyroid gland produces too little hormone, this is known as hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism affects up to 5% of the U.S. population, with a further estimated 5% being undiagnosed.Hyperthyroidism can be caused by:Toxic nodule or multinodular goiter -- A single nodule or lump in the thyroid or several nodules forming a goiter -- can produce more thyroid hormone than the body needs and lead to hyperthyroidism. Graves' disease - Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the thyroid. Patients with Graves disease often have enlargement of the thyroid gland and become hyperthyroid. Sub-acute thyroiditis - A viral infection can cause inflammation of the thyroid gland, resulting in excess amounts of thyroid hormone. It usually resolves on its own. Postpartum thyroiditis - Some women can develop hyperthyroidism after childbirth, followed by a period of hypothyroidism. It usually resolves after a few months Excessive iodine consumption- Consuming too much iodine can cause hyperthyroidism. In most cases, it usually resolves when the excess iodine is discontinued.Treatment of Hyperthyroidism Hyperthyroidism is commonly treated with antithyroid drugs that block or reduce the thyroids production of hormones. Other options include oral radioactive iodine followed by thyroid hormone replacement therapy, and beta blockers, which block the action of thyroid hormones on the body. HYPERTHYROIDISM Toxic nodule or multinodular goiter -- A single nodule or lump in the thyroid or several nodules forming a goiter -- can produce more thyroid hormone than the body needs and lead to hyperthyroidism. Graves' disease - Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the thyroid. Patients with Graves disease often have enlargement of the thyroid gland and become hyperthyroid. Sub-acute thyroiditis - A viral infection can cause inflammation of the thyroid gland, resulting in excess amounts of thyroid hormone. It usually resolves on its own. Postpartum thyroiditis - Some women can develop hyperthyroidism after childbirth, followed by a period of hypothyroidism. It usually resolves after a few months Excessive iodine consumption- Consuming too much iodine can cause hyperthyroidism. In most cases, it usually resolves when the excess iodine is discontinued. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by: THYROID DISORDERS Weight loss Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) Increased sensitivity to heat Excess sweating Tremors Irritability and nervousness Muscle weakness Frequent bowel movements Changes in menstrual patterns Sleep difficulty High blood pressure Increased appetite Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: When the thyroid gland produces too little hormone, this is known as hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism affects up to 5% of the U.S. population, with a further estimated 5% being undiagnosed. THYROID NODULES Thyroid nodules are growths or lumps in the thyroid gland. They are common, and the vast majority of nodules are benign, or non-cancerous. Often, no specific treatment is needed, and the thyroid can simply be monitored for signs of hyperthyroidism. If the nodule causes affects breathing or swallowing, your doctor may recommend surgery. THYROID CANCER Thyroid cancer is found in about 5% of thyroid nodules. There are several types of thyroid cancer, some more aggressive than others, but overall, the prognosis for thyroid cancer is positive, with survival rates between 75%-100%. Like other thyroid conditions, thyroid cancer is more common in women than men. Other factors that increase the risk of thyroid cancer include exposure to radiation and genetics. Thyroid cancer is treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. ENLARGED THYROID An enlargement of the thyroid gland, also known as a goiter, appear as a swelling in the neck. It can be small or large, can cause no symptoms, or can cause and increase or decrease in thyroid hormones. In the United States, a goiter can develop when the thyroid gland does not make enough hormones, so it attempts to make more by growing larger. As in hypothyroidism, a goiter can also be a side effect of certain medications. In other parts of the world, goiters can develop from a lack of iodine. In other cases, there are no known causes. Treatment depends on the cause of the goiter, symptoms, and complications resulting from the goiter. Small goiters that aren't noticeable and don't cause problems usually don't need treatment .PARATHYROID DISORDERS The most common parathyroid disorders are caused by an imbalance of the parathyroid hormone, known as PTH. PTH regulates the amount of calcium in the body. HYPOPARATHYROIDISM When the parathyroid glands produce too little hormone, this is known as hypopararthyroidism or underactive parathyroid. This leads to low blood calcium. Treatment of Hypoparathyroidism Treatment of hypoparathyroidism includes oral calcium carbonate tablets and a prescription parathyroid hormone used with supplemental calcium and vitamin D. Tingling lips, fingers, and toes Muscle aches, cramps, and spasms Calcium deposits in some tissues Dry hair and skin Signs and symptoms of hypoparathyroidism include: Brittle nails Patchy hair loss Pain in the face, legs, and feet Painful menstrual periods HYPERPARATHYROIDISM When the parathyroid glands produce too much hormone, this is known as hyperpararthyroidism or overactive parathyroid. This leads to high blood calcium levels. There are two types of hyperparathyroidism. In primary hyperparathyroidism, an enlargement of one or more of the parathyroid glands causes overproduction of the hormone. Surgery is the most common treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism. Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs due to another disease that first causes low calcium levels in the body. Over time, increased parathyroid hormone levels occur. Factors that may contribute to secondary hyperparathyroidism include severe calcium deficiency, severe vitamin D deficiency, and chronic kidney failure. Treatment of Hyperparathyroidism Treatment of hyperparathyroidism include surgical removal of enlargements or tumors, hormone replacement therapy, and calcimimetics -- a drug that mimics calcium in the blood and may encourage the parathyroid glands to release less parathyroid hormone. Osteoporosis Kidney stones Bone and joint pain Thinning hair Excessive urination Abdominal pain Muscle weakness Depression or forgetfulnessPARATHYROID TUMORS Parathyroid tumors may increase the levels of parathyroid hormones. Parathyroid tumors are extremely rare and are usually benign, or non-cancerous. Surgery to remove the tumor is recommended if it is causing abnormal blood calcium levels.TESTING FOR AND DIAGNOSING THYROID DISORDERS TSH If your physician suspects a thyroid disorder, a blood test will likely be ordered. Blood tests for your thyroid include: The is most accurate measure of thyroid activity and measures the amount of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. High levels of TSH indicate an underactive thyroid, while low levels indicate an overactive thyroid. T3 and T4 These tests measure the amount of the two types of thyroid hormones. TSI This measures thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin, an antibody that instructs the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones. This test is performed when overactive thyroid is suspected. Antithyroid Antibody Test This test measures the antibodies that instruct the body to destroy thyroid tissue and cells, resulting in underactive thyroid. Other testing and diagnostic tools include:Ultrasound -- An ultrasound creates an image of the thyroid and can reveal enlargements or nodules on the thyroid. Thyroid Scan -- Like ultrasound, a thyroid scan creates an image of the thyroid. The patient ingests a small amount of radioactive iodine to help generate the image. It is often performed with a radioactive iodine uptake test. Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test -- This test involves giving a small amount of radioactive iodine to measure how much is taken up by the thyroid. This test can tell the difference between several causes of increased thyroid hormone blood levels. Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) Biopsy -- In this test, a small needle collects tissue samples for testing under a microscope. Other testing and diagnostic tools include: TRUST FLORIDA GULF COAST ENT FOR YOUR THYROID AND PARATHYROID HEALTH With expert understanding of the anatomy and functioning of the ears, nose, throat, and related parts of the head and neck, your physicians at Florida Gulf Coast ENT are specially trained in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating disorders of the thyroid and parathyroid glands. As ENTs, we are also surgeons and can remove thyroid nodules, tumors, and other masses. Florida Gulf Coast ENT is the premier care provider for your thyroid and parathyroid health. (239) 514-2225
What Is a Balance Disorder? Your sense of balance is critically important to help prevent falls and injury. A balance disorder affects your bodys ability to hold an upright, safe position and is often experienced as dizziness and vertigo. Dizziness is a feeling of being unsteady or having a distorted sense of your body in the space in the space around it. Vertigo involves a sense a movement, as if you or the environment around you is spinning. Dizziness and vertigo can be accompanied by lightheadedness, blurred vision, confusion, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting. Dizziness and vertigo are symptoms of numerous conditions, including anxiety, dehydration, circulation issues, nervous system and brain conditions, medication side effects, and inner ear disorders. An ENT can help you determine if your dizziness or vertigo is caused by an inner ear disorder.Balance and the Inner Ear Your sense of balance is guided by signals from your eyes, ears, and sensory receptors to your brain. The part of your ears involved in balance is called the vestibular system, a structure of bone and soft tissue located in your inner ear. Within this structure are loop shaped canals that contain fluid hairlike sensors. When you move your head, the fluid in the vestibular system causes the hairlike sensors to bend, sending a signal to your brain that your head has changed position. With this information, your brain can send signals to other parts of the body, such as your eyes and muscles, to move your bodys position and visual focus to help maintain your sense of balance. When any part of the vestibular system is injured or malfunctioning, proper signals to your brain can be disrupted, causing you to feel imbalanced. When the vestibular system is the cause of your sense of imbalance, it is called a vestibular disorder. Common Vestibular DisordersAutoimmune Inner Ear Disease (AIED) Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease is caused by a malfunctioning immune system that attacks healthy ear tissue. It affects both ears and causes hearing loss and balance issues. Once symptoms are present, they typically progress quickly. AIED is rare, affecting 15 out of 100,000 people, and is most common in middle-aged women. It commonly occurs with other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, and ulcerative colitis. Acoustic Neuroma Acoustic neuroma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor that grows on the nerves in the inner ear that are responsible for hearing and balance. The pressure on the nerve from the tumor may cause hearing loss and imbalance. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common vestibular disorders. The structures in your ear that monitor your head's movements crystals that make you sensitive to gravity. These crystals can become dislodged for several reasons, such as serious trauma to the head or even minor trauma such as a violent sneeze or bumping your head into something. When the crystals become dislodged, they can move into the canals of the vestibular system and create a fall signal of head movement, causing dizziness. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can occur at any age but is most common in people over the age of 50.Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS)Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS) Mal de Debarquement Syndrome is a rare condition that causes a severe and often debilitating feeling of swaying or bobbing, much like motion sickness but without motion. It often follows boat or ship travel but can persist for months or longer. While it is a neurological condition rather than a vestibular condition as it does not involve the inner ear, patients often see ENT physicians for a diagnosis. Mnires Disease Mnires disease causes severe vertigo, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness or congestion in the ear. In Mnires disease, a buildup of fluid in the inner ear interferes with the vestibular nerves ability to send signals that regulate balance to the brain. Mnires disease usually affects only one ear but over time can progress to affect both ears. Labyrinthitis Labyrinthitis is a disorder of the inner ear that occurs when one of the vestibular nerves becomes inflamed. It is commonly caused by a viral infection, such as an upper respiratory infection or the flu, or less commonly by a bacterial infection such as strep throat or pneumonia. Otosclerosis Otosclerosis is a rare condition characterized by an abnormal growth of bone of the middle ear. It commonly affects hearing loss, and less commonly can affect balance if the growth extends into the inner ear. Ototoxicity Ototoxicity is caused by exposure to certain drugs or chemicals that damage nerves in the inner ear that are responsible for hearing and balance. There are more than 200 prescription and over-the-counter medications and chemicals that are known to cause ototoxicity. Discuss with your doctor the potential for hearing or balance damage of any medication you are taking. Vestibular Migraine Vestibular migraine is one of the most common causes of spontaneous vertigo, loss of balance and sensitivity to motion. Unlike other migraines, vestibular migraine may or may not feature headache, although most people diagnosed with vestibular migraine have a history of migraine headaches. Although vestibular migraine is a neurological condition, it can mimic vestibular conditions such as Mnires disease and patients should consult an ENT physician to rule out any inner ear disorders. Vestibular Neuritis Vestibular neuritis, or vestibular neuronitis, is characterized by inflammation of the vestibular nerve in the inner ear. It causes a sudden case of severe vertigo, dizziness, balance problems, nausea and vomiting that can last for minutes or prolonged over several days. Vestibular neuritis is typically caused by a virus either in the ear or elsewhere in the body.Diagnosing Vestibular DisordersThe otolaryngologists at Florida Gulf Coast ENT and the audiologists at Florida Gulf Coast Hearing Center are trained to performed diagnostic tests for vestibular function. Tests they may perform include: Your otolaryngologist may consult with other physicians such as neurologists to assess neurological conditions, and cardiologists to assess circulatory conditions. Hearing tests To evaluate hearing functionality Electrocochleography (ECoG) Measures inner ear fluid pressure Electronystagmography (ENG) or Videonystagmography (VNG) Measures eye movement and the muscles that control them Head movement testing Evaluates the effect of tilting your head Rotational chair testing Measures eye movements while you sit in a computerized chair that moves Posturography Measures your ability to maintain proper posture under different test conditions Subjective visual vertical test (SVV) Measures how your inner ear senses gravity Vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP) Evaluates the functionality of the inner ear and vestibular nerve Blood tests - To check for infections Your otolaryngologist may consult with other physicians such as neurologists to assess neurological conditions, and cardiologists to assess circulatory conditions.Treating Vestibular Disorders Your treatment plan will depend on which type of vestibular disorder you have. Options may include: Medications to treat an infection Medications to prevent vertigo and nausea Treatment of underlying conditions Surgery to repair inner ear function Dietary changes Activity changes Physical or occupational therapy Be Safe When Feeling Dizzy Dizziness and vertigo increase the risk of falling and injuries. To minimize this potential, consider taking these safety precautions: Minimize driving Minimize going up and down the stairs Walk with a cane or walker Install grab bars in the bathroom Wear low-heeled shoes .