BIG STONE GAP, Va.– A good night's rest is considered one of the better ways for a person to lead a healthy, restorative life.
People also enjoy their life more when they do not have to worry about infections that can arise when their sinuses get out of whack.
For those with afflictions with their sleep and their sinuses, life can be miserable.
"Chronic sinusitis and obstructive sleep apnea affect the quality of life and the productive years of adults between 25 and 65 years of age," said Dr. James Raj, an otolaryngologist who operates Mountain View ENT with offices in Big Stone Gap, Norton and Pennington Gap.
"Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that 32 million adults in the United States suffer from chronic sinusitis. Approximately 12 million to 18 million Americans have sleep apnea."
Most people are aware that snoring is more than an annoyance but a potential sign of a medical problem.
"Snoring happens when air cannot flow freely through the passage in the throat," said Dr. Raj, a board-eligible physician with more than 20 years' experience. "Snoring can be a sign of a serious condition called sleep apnea. When a person has sleep apnea, the throat becomes blocked during the night, stopping breathing for short periods of time."
Other symptoms of sleep apnea are waking tired and with a headache, feeling sleepy or falling asleep at inappropriate times, irritability and a short temper and problems with concentration or memory. Sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure, irregular heart rates, heart attacks stroke and impotence.
"Sleep-related breathing disorders are now more readily identified at sleep laboratories, such as the ones at Mountain View Regional Medical Center and Lee Regional Medical Center, and are successfully managed by continuous, positive airway pressure to prevent collapse of the pharynx and by other surgical measures," Dr. Raj said.
Dr. Raj said symptoms of chronic sinus problems are chronic postnasal drainage, nasal congestion, facial pain, headaches, bad breath and fatigue.
"Any obstruction to natural air flow, such as nasal polyps, deviated nasal septum, turbinate hypertrophy or allergic rhinitis can contribute to the development of infection, secondary to lack of ventilation of the sinuses and lack of clearance of mucus from the sinuses," he said.
Physicians treat chronic sinusitis with endoscopic sinus surgery, which provides better sight of the sinuses with no visible scarring, less bleeding and a recovery that is less painful has quicker recovery.
Dr. Raj, who recently attended a conference on pediatric otolaryngology at Stanford University Medical Center, has offices at Southwest Virginia Outpatient Center, 295 Wharton Lane, Norton; Lee Medical Plaza, 127 Health Care Drive, Suite 9, Pennington Gap; and 1980 Holton Ave., Suite 103, Big Stone Gap.