Posts for tag: Breathing Problem
From outdoor allergies to asthma, there are many reasons why you or your child may be having trouble with your breathing. Breathing problems can be distressing and it’s important to understand when symptoms warrant seeing an otolaryngologist for a proper evaluation.
Common Causes of Breathing Problems
You may have trouble breathing if you are dealing with:
- Common cold
- Acute or chronic sinusitis
- Deviated septum
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Other upper respiratory infections (e.g. pneumonia)
While some conditions like the common cold will only cause mild and temporary symptoms, if you notice that your symptoms are serious, don’t respond to at-home care or are getting worse then it’s time to seek medical attention. After all, there are certain conditions such as sinusitis that can become chronic if not properly treated. An ENT doctor will know exactly what medications and treatments to offer to reduce sinus inflammation and to make breathing easier.
Chronic breathing problems, particularly those caused by allergies and asthma, may also be associated with:
- Chest tightness or congestion
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Coughing that gets worse at night
- Shallow breathing
Asthma symptoms are usually detected early in childhood; however, it is still possible for adults to be diagnosed later in life (known as adult-onset asthma). If you or your child are experiencing difficulty breathing and tightness in the chest made worse by cold air, stress, or exercise it’s important that you see an ENT doctor right away. While asthma cannot be cured it can be properly managed with long-term medication. Leaving asthma untreated could be harmful to your health.
Testing and Diagnosis
When you come into the office an otolaryngologist will have you fill out detailed information about your family and personal medical history. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam. Pulmonary function tests are often used to test lung function in those suspected of having asthma. Of course, there are other breathing tests such as spirometry. Your doctor will also ask you questions about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing in order to rule out certain conditions or illnesses.
The treatment plan you receive will depend on the issue you are dealing with. For example, acute sinusitis can often be managed with over-the-counter nasal decongestants and antihistamines while chronic sinusitis may require more aggressive treatment such as prescription steroid sprays, oral corticosteroids, and endoscopic nasal surgery to remove the blockage or to repair the deviated septum. Your otolaryngologist can help you get your breathing problems under control.
Breathing problems can quickly turn into a scary situation. However, your ear, nose and throat specialist can help you get to the bottom of your breathing problems to help you find relief and avoid further complications. Diagnosis and treatment of these issues depend on pinpointing the underlying cause of the problems and developing an effective treatment plan.
Do I have a breathing problem?
Breathing issues can stem from various sources which often cause similar symptoms. You may have a breathing problem if you experience one or more of the following:
- labored breathing
- shortness of breath
- discomfort while breathing
- flaring nostrils
- gray/pale complexion
If you think you have a breathing difficulty, you should see your ear, nose and throat doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis. If your breathing difficulty shows up alongside a fever, severe coughing, difficulty laying down or waking up at night unable to breathe, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Common Causes of Breathing Problems
Your breathing problems may originate from one or more of the following conditions:
- Allergies: Allergies occur due to your body’s misinterpretation of outside elements like pet dander, pollen, mold or grass as an attack. Symptoms include sneezing, wheezing, coughing and itchy, watery eyes.
- Deviated septum: A deviated septum can be present from birth or present itself due to an injury. A deviated septum occurs when the wall of tissue between your nostrils becomes severely off-center and causes issues like blockages or congestion.
- Lung disease: Asthma is a common cause of breathing issues and attacks often occur due to a trigger like an allergic reaction to dust, mold or pollen. Other lung diseases like pulmonary edema, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, plural effusion or tuberculosis can also trigger breathing problems.
- Sinusitis: Sinusitis occurs when the lining of the nasal passages becomes inflamed. While sinusitis usually occurs due to a viral infection which shows improvement in a week or two, it can also become chronic, lasting over 12 weeks. Chronic sinusitis often requires sinus surgery to clear the blockage and allow the sinuses to drain.
How can my ear, nose and throat doctor help?
Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor will use different treatments. You will have a physical examination with your ear, nose, and throat doctor. This time allows your doctor to spot abnormalities with your body, take images using x-rays or MRIs, and begin any necessary testing. Your doctor will work with you to determine the cause of your breathing problems and find the best course of treatment for you.