Self-diagnosing common ENT disorders like allergy, sinus infection or strep throat can often be difficult because the symptoms can be similar. Your WellStar ENT specialist has tools and tests to make an accurate diagnosis. Consult your WellStar physician for diagnoses of these and other ENT conditions.
Diagnosing Ear Infection
If you have symptoms of an ear infection, your WellStar physician will use an otoscope, an instrument with a magnifying lens and light, to examine the ear and eardrum. If you have an infection, the ear may be red and swollen with a fluid discharge. Symptoms of “swimmer's ear” include redness in the outer ear and ear canal. In addition, your WellStar physician may notice pus in the ear canal and scaly or shedding skin.
Diagnosing Sinus Infection
If your WellStar physician suspects you have a sinus infection, he or she will use an endoscope to look for inflammation and/or discharge in your nose. If other tests are inconclusive, X-rays or a CT scan may be used for further diagnosis.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
If you think you have sleep apnea, your physician will begin diagnosis by asking questions, which may include:
- Has anyone told you that you snore?
- Has anyone told you that you stop breathing while you’re asleep?
- Do you wake up refreshed in the morning or are you drowsy throughout the day?
- Do you suffer from mood swings or depression?
- Do you wake up often in the night?
After gathering this type of information, your physician will look in your mouth for evidence of enlarged tonsils or anything that may be blocking your airway. A sleep study may be ordered to confirm sleep apnea. WellStar Windy Hill Hospital is home to the WellStar Sleep Disorders Center, one of the nation’s largest American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited centers, with satellite sleep labs located at WellStar Douglas and Paulding hospitals.
In a sleep study, you would spend the night in one of the sleep labs, where the oxygen level in your blood, your brain activity, breathing and heart rate are monitored while you sleep. Based on your symptoms, your WellStar physician may choose to use a combination of tests to diagnose your specific disorder. Following the sleep study, your physician will use the information to create an effective treatment plan.