Before and After image of deviated septum

5 Signs You May Have a Deviated Septum

No nose is perfect. In fact, most of us have noses that are slightly crooked and could benefit from deviated septum surgery (septoplasty)—a procedure where the center of the nose, or septum, is straightened and aligned.

You’ve surely seen people with severely curved noses. They’re obvious candidates for deviated septum surgery. Yet many of us have deviated septums and that condition can lead to trouble breathing and sleeping and is often related to the potentially life-threatening condition of sleep apnea.

Read: What is Sleep Apnea?

Here are 5 symptoms of a deviated septum. Not all people with a deviated septum will experience these symptoms. However, if you recognize these symptoms, our ear, nose and throat doctors in Salt Lake City can diagnose and treat your deviated septum.

Deviated Septum Symptom #1: Difficulty Breathing

A misaligned septum makes it more difficult for air to pass through the nostrils and into your lungs. As a result, you may encounter trouble breathing—especially when you have a cold or allergies. Those conditions make your nasal passages swell and narrow, which further constrains your ability to breathe.

Deviated Septum Symptom #2: Regular Nose Bleeds

In some patients, a deviated septum leads to regular nosebleeds. That’s because the curvature of the septum creates turbulence as air passes through the nostril. Think about your septum like the hood of a car or an airline wing. The more aerodynamic the surface area, the more easily air passes past the septum (or the wing of an airplane). In noses, the more turbulence on the septum, the drier it becomes and that can lead to a bloody nose.

Deviated Septum Symptom #3: Frequent Sinus Infections or Cold Symptoms

A clogged airway or impaired breathing through your nose often leads to sinus infections, post-nasal drip or what many people simply term “common cold” symptoms. If medicines do not help cure your sinus infections or nasal drip, you should seek help from an otolaryngologist.

Deviated Septum Symptom #4: Facial Pain and Headaches

People with a deviated septum feel “clogged up.” That can lead to headaches and facial pain. In some cases, facial and nose pain is caused by the nasal septum actually contacting the outside wall of your nose. Obviously, that’s a severely deviated septum and one that merits an exam by a trained ENT doctor.

Deviated Septum Symptom #5: Difficulty Sleeping

One or all of these deviated septum symptoms can contribute to great difficulty sleeping. You know the frustration of trying to sleep when you’re heavily congested. Now imagine that condition nearly every time you lay your head on a pillow. A deviated septum can cause you to lose sleep and that can make you irritable. More critically, a deviated symptom can contribute to sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder and can prove fatal.

Get Relief from a Deviated Septum

The good news with a deviated septum is that it can be surgically repaired. Our Utah ENT doctors perform rhinoplasties (nose jobs) on a regular basis and can help diagnose, treat and repair your deviated septum. Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-328-2522 to learn more.

Read: 3 Reasons to Get a Nose Job

Sleep apnea linked to cancer

Study Reveals Sleep Apnea Increases Cancer Risks

Sleep apnea is a common problem in America: nearly 30 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea or gaps in breathing while sleeping.

It’s already well established that sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, depression and heart disease.

Now researchers have discovered a link between sleep apnea and cancer. In fact, sleep apnea sufferers may be up to 5 times more likely to die from cancer of any kind. True.

Read: What is Sleep Apnea

Dr. Javier Nieto, chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, studied more than 1,500 people and 22 years of data from the Wisconsin Sleep Study and identified the link between apnea and cancer.

“Clearly, there is a correlation, and we are a long way from proving that sleep apnea causes cancer or contributes to its growth,” says Nieto, an expert in sleep epidemiology. “But animal studies have shown that the intermittent hypoxia (an inadequate supply of oxygen) that characterizes sleep apnea promotes angiogenesis-increased vascular growth – and tumor growth. Our results suggest that SDB is also associated with an increased risk of cancer mortality in humans.”

Simple translation: people with severe sleep apnea tend to have less oxygen in their systems and grow more blood vessels that feed all cells–including cancerous cells.

The Wisconsin researchers discovered that people with severe sleep-disordered breathing died of cancer at a rate 4.8 times higher than people with no sleep-breathing problems.

While additional studies are needed to replicate the study results, Dr. Nieto states, “Sleep apena is a serious problem that needs to be treated if you have it and this [information] is one more reason to worry about it.”

Watch ABC News Report about Cancer and Sleep Apnea

Learn More about Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is indeed a serious condition and one that deserves serious attention. Our Ear, Nose and Throat doctors in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah regularly diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Our advice is that if you or a sleeping partner recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with an ENT doctor to ensure you receive the care you need.

There are also procedures and therapies that can cure or at least help you manage the symptoms of sleep apena. One of the most common sleep apnea treatments is the use of a Nasal CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which is essentially a mask that fits over your nose and blows in air to keep the airway tissues open while you sleep.

Another recent development is the use of da Vinci robotic surgery to help cure sleep apnea. Our own Dr. Pramod Sharma is one of few Utah sleep apnea doctors who perform the procedure that can eliminate sleep apnea completely–without visible scarring.

Read: Robotic Surgery Can Help Cure Sleep Apnea