My Blog

By Steven M Dawson, MD
September 08, 2020
Category: Sleep Conditions
Tags: sleep apnea  

Loud snoring and daytime fatigue are things you shouldn’t ignore, as they may be signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common condition in which you unconsciously stop breathing for short periods as you sleep. If left untreated, it could lead to major health issues.

With this in mind, a thorough evaluation with Dr. Steven Dawson here at Steven M Dawson MD in Kirkland, WA, is needed to check your sleep apnea risk and your particular symptoms. Fortunately, you can try various treatment options to manage your condition.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Sleep Apnea

If you are dealing with a mild case of sleep apnea, your Kirkland ENT may advise you to make lifestyle changes including:

  • Keeping a Healthy Weight. Being over a healthy weight could heighten your risk of having narrow nasal passages and airway obstruction. On the other hand, keeping a healthy weight has been proven to significantly minimize the symptoms of sleep apnea.
  • Changing your Sleeping Position. This might seem like a minimal change, yet it can still be effective in reducing your symptoms. Try sleeping on your side since sleeping on your back could aggravate your condition.
  • Refrain from Drinking Alcohol. Alcohol intake can worsen your symptoms since it relaxes the muscles in your throat, which contributes to poor airflow.
  • Do Not Smoke. Smoking can cause inflammation in your airway, thus, obstructing proper airflow. Not to mention all the nasty risks it poses to your overall health.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

As the most common form of treatment for keeping sleep apnea under control, CPAP is used to treat moderate to more serious sleep apnea cases. It involves wearing a mask over your nose and mouth as you sleep. The CPAP device provides constant airflow that keeps your airway open, helping you breathe properly.

Other Breathing Devices for Treating Sleep Apnea

For individuals who can’t stand CPAP therapy or are not an eligible candidate for it, your sleep apnea doctor in Kirkland, WA, may suggest these alternatives for managing your sleep apnea:

  • Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP or BPAP). This functions similarly to the CPAP device but instead utilizes a particular amount of pressure upon inhalation and a lower amount of pressure upon exhalation.
  • Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP). These devices are placed on the nostrils to aid in keeping your airway open. They can only be used once.
  • Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV). This device records details about your regular breathing pattern and utilizes airflow pressure to keep your airway open or to provide you with breath when necessary.

Oral Appliances

Custom-created dental devices are also an effective and comfortable way to keep your airway open. The two most typical types of oral appliances used for sleep apnea management are the tongue retaining device (TRD) and the mandibular advancement device (MAD). These function by holding your lower jaw and tongue forward while you sleep.


A variety of available surgical procedures can be done to alter the size of your airway. These usually involve the removal of excess tissue inside your nose or the back of your throat, tonsils, or adenoids, inserting plastic rods to your soft palate, and redefining your jaw to expand your upper airway.

Need Help Managing Your Sleep Apnea in Kirkland? We Can Help

Arrange a consultation here at Steven M Dawson MD in Kirkland, WA, with our ENT doctor, Dr. Steven Dawson, by calling 425-899-3838, now.

By Steven M Dawson, MD
August 19, 2020
Category: ENT
Tags: Sinusitis  

Here are some ways to help you breathe better all year long.

Some people are more prone than others to sinus infections. Of course, nasal congestion, pressure, and trouble breathing is unpleasant and sometimes downright miserable. Luckily, our Kirkland WA otolaryngologist Dr. Steven Dawson specializes in treating sinusitis and other conditions that affect the sinuses and nasal cavity. If you’re looking to avoid these dreaded sinusitis symptoms this year, here are some tips for how to prevent this problem from happening to you.

Rinse Out Nasal Cavities Every Day

If you are prone to sinus infections, then one of the best ways to prevent congestion and to remove nasal-clogging mucus is to rinse out the nasal passages daily. While you can use simple running water through the nose, most people prefer the ease and convenience of a Neti pot, which makes it easier to thoroughly clean out the sinuses at home. It's highly recommended by your Kirkland sinusitis specialist.

Stay Hydrated

Have you ever noticed how thinned out mucus gets in the back of your throat after you drink a lot of water? The same holds for the mucus that develops within the nasal cavity. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you are getting enough water every day and staying properly hydrated to help thin the mucus. Not sure how much water to drink every day? Mayo Clinic has a helpful guide. Since 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, chances are good you aren’t getting enough water every day. Drink up for better nasal health.

Get Allergies Under Control

Do you deal with allergies? Many people do. Unfortunately, untreated or uncontrolled allergies are also more likely to wreak havoc on your sinuses. To prevent sinusitis, it’s important to talk with our Kirkland WA ENT doctor about ways to control your allergies through simple lifestyle changes and medications. If you battle severe allergies, you may want to consider other treatment options such as allergy shots.

Keep Nasal Cavities Moist

There are many ways in which to do this. You can rinse your nasal passages out with a Neti pot in the morning and use a saline nasal spray throughout the day. Enjoy a long, steamy shower after work or inhale the steam from a pot of boiling water (put a towel over your head to keep the steam in). Set up a humidifier at your office or in your bedroom (or both!) to avoid time spent in dry, irritating environments.

If you’re dealing with recurring, persistent, or severely painful sinusitis symptoms it’s a good time to talk with our Kirkland WA ENT specialist about other treatment options that could finally provide you with long-term relief. We offer telemedicine visits, so you can talk to a doctor on your smartphone or computer. To schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with Dr. Steven Dawson, call (425) 899-3838.

By Steven M Dawson, MD
June 19, 2020
Category: ENT
Tags: CPAP Treatment  

Here’s what you should know about this most common sleep apnea treatment.

If you are currently living with sleep apnea here in Kirkland, WA, our otolaryngologist Dr. Steven Dawson can diagnose and help you manage your symptoms through CPAP treatment. Of course, there are many people who have sleep apnea but don’t even know it. So, it’s first important to recognize the warning signs of obstructive sleep apnea,

  • Chronic, loud and disruptive snoring
  • Gasping for breath or pauses in breathing in the middle of the night
  • Restless sleep
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Mental fog, poor memory and difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme exhaustion throughout the day (despite getting enough sleep)
  • Mood swings, irritability and anxiety

If your partner has complained about your loud and persistent snoring this symptom alone is worth visiting our otolaryngologist in Kirkland, WA. While not all snorers have sleep apnea the majority of people with sleep apnea do deal with chronic snoring.

What is CPAP treatment?

CPAP treatment is one of the most common treatment option prescribed to those with obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure therapy and this machine pumps continuous, pressurized air through a tube into a mask that the patient will wear over their nose and mouth while they sleep. This pressurized air will help to keep the airways open, preventing obstructions in breathing.

Why should I use CPAP treatment?

When it comes to getting CPAP therapy it’s important that you work with a qualified doctor who can help you find the right type of machine and mask to help improve your symptoms but also help you feel comfortable with this new treatment. We know that finding the right CPAP machine takes time, and we are happy to work with you to find the one that best fits your needs and provides you with the sleep you deserve.

If you don’t treat sleep apnea not only are you dealing with the pangs of daytime fatigue, brain fog and other issues that can cause problems at work, school or while driving, but also you can increase your risk for certain serious and life-threatening health problems including,

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

When will I notice improvements in my sleep with CPAP?

You only need to wear your CPAP mask while you are sleeping. By using this treatment every night (without skipping an evening) you may notice a significant improvement in your symptoms after about two weeks of continuous use. Even once you start feeling better you should continue to use your CPAP treatment every night. If you still notice symptoms after a couple of weeks of continued use talk with our ENT doctor.

If you are dealing with severe snoring and you think you may have sleep apnea, our Kirkland, WA, ENT office is here to help. We offer both in-office and telemedicine visits, to make getting care for your sinus, ear, nose and throat problems even easier. Call our office today at (425) 899-3838 to schedule an appointment.

By Steven M Dawson, MD
April 10, 2020
Category: ENT
Tags: Sinusitis  

Are you have difficulty breathing, putting up with nasal congestion, and headaches on a daily basis? If so, you may be suffering from sinusitis. Dr. Steven Dawson will be able to diagnose your symptoms and recommend an effective solution. Based in Kirkland, WA, Dr. Dawson, specializes in ear, nose, and throat services and can help you breathe more easily.

What is Sinusitis?

Your sinuses are comprised of hollow cavities that extend around your eyes, through your cheekbones and forehead and connect to your nose. There are several different sinuses:

  • Maxillary sinuses: the largest sinuses; they are located in your cheekbones
  • Frontal sinuses: located on each side of your forehead above the bridge of your nose
  • Ethmoid sinuses: located behind the inside corner of each eye
  • Sphenoid sinuses: located behind the ethmoid sinuses

The sinuses’ main function is to produce mucus to ensure that the soft tissue that lines the nose remains moist. This layer of mucus protects the nasal lining from viruses, bacteria, pollen, dirt, and dust. The sinuses also help your voice to resonate and prevent sudden temperature changes in your nasal cavities.

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the tissue lining the sinuses. It has several causes, which include the common cold, seasonal or other types of allergy, nasal polyps, and a deviated septum. Sinusitis can cause a great deal of discomfort, and if left untreated, it can become chronic and cause other complications such as ear infections.

Sinusitis Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of sinusitis may include:

  • Pressure in the cheeks and behind the eyes
  • Lingering headache
  • Painful nasal congestion
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Sore throat
  • A hoarse, scratchy voice

Sinusitis Treatment

Although you can treat this condition with over-the-counter solutions such as nasal sprays, these should not be used for more than three consecutive days. A visit to Dr. Dawson will provide an accurate diagnosis and a treatment that you can count on to ease your symptoms quickly and effectively.

Don’t suffer symptoms in silence. If you think you may be suffering from sinusitis, contact your otolaryngologist in Kirkland, WA, Dr. Steven Dawson at 425-899-3838 for quick relief.

By Steven M Dawson, MD
March 24, 2020
Category: Sleep Conditions
Tags: sleep apnea  

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that sleep apnea is on the rise in the US. Fortunately, your ENT doctor in Kirkland, WA, can help treat this issue if you suffer from it. Dr. Steven Dawson helps patients struggling with obstructive sleep apnea overcome this disorder, allowing them to rest and enjoy better health. Read on to learn more.

What is sleep apnea?

The National Sleep Foundation states that sleep apnea affects 16 million Americans of all ages and walks of life. While men 40 and over are more prone to this problem, women and children suffer from it, too. Characterized by loud snoring and repeated episodes of breathing cessation, sleep apnea affects interpersonal relationships, daytime function, and overall health.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is the most common type of sleep apnea in Kirkland and across the country. When someone with OSA sleeps, the soft tissues at the back of the throat, otherwise known as the velum or soft palate, relax so much they actually cover the airway. Breathing stops, the person wakes up, and the disruptive cycle starts again, often occurring multiple times a night.

How does sleep apnea affect health?

Oxygen deprivation from sleep apnea affects the entire body. Untreated, OSA leads to:

  • Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Slow reaction time
  • Irritability and depression
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Digestive issues, such as GERD (acid reflux disease)

What is CPAP?

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP machines send a constant stream of air through a facial mask. Patients use their bedside apparatuses all night, every night so their airways stay open, snoring stops and health improves.

Do I have to use CPAP?

Not everyone benefits from this common sleep apnea treatment. Some people may wear acrylic mouthpieces which places their lower jaws forward, opening the tissues at the back of the throat. Others benefit from simple lifestyle changes such as:

  • Sleeping on one side rather than on the back
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • No eating two hours before bedtime
  • Losing weight
  • Smoking cessation

Learn more

Correct diagnosis, education, and treatment help manage sleep apnea. Learn more by consulting with your otolaryngologist in Kirkland, WA, Dr. Steven Dawson. Please call his office team to book your appointment: (425) 899-3838.

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