Posts for: February, 2020
Having trouble breathing or catching your breath can certainly be a cause for concern. While it’s normal to be out of breath after an intense workout there are times when symptoms such as chest tightness, persistent coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing appear and any of these symptoms are usually signs that something more serious is going on.
As you might imagine, most breathing problems are associated with lung or respiratory conditions. These are problems that an otolaryngologist can easily help you treat or manage. Common lung conditions that can affect breathing include:
Asthma: a chronic condition that affects millions and causes inflammation and airway constriction, which results in coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. Symptoms can range from mild to life threatening.
Pneumonia: an infection of the respiratory tract that causes inflammation and fluid buildup in the lungs. It’s important to see an otolaryngologist immediately for treatment, as untreated pneumonia could be dangerous (and also highly contagious). Symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Shortness of breath
- Shallow breathing
- Productive cough, often with yellow or green mucus
- Chest pain that occurs when breathing deeply or coughing
- Muscle aches
- Sweating and fever
- Loss of appetite
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): this is a group of chronic inflammatory lung diseases that cause airway obstructions within the lungs. The most common types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a condition that most often occurs in smokers. Common symptoms of COPD include:
- Mucus production
- Persistent cough
- Trouble breathing
- Chest tightness
This is a progressive condition that will make breathing even more difficult as the condition advances. It’s important to see an ENT doctor right away if you notice any symptoms of COPD. Early symptoms include exercise-induced rapid breathing, a persistent cough, and clearing your throat often (usually in the morning).
Lung cancer: this type of cancer develops anywhere in the lungs, allowing abnormal cells to multiply until a tumor forms. While many people who develop lung cancer are smokers, this form of cancer can also develop in those who have never smoked a day in their life. Early warning signs of lung cancer include:
- Vocal changes
- Chronic cough
- Bloody mucus when coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling weak
- Unexpected weight loss
Since the early warning signs associated with lung cancer can also be caused by other respiratory conditions it is important to turn to an ear, nose, and throat doctor who will be able to perform the proper diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
If you are having trouble catching your breath it’s important that you find out why this is happening to you. Call your ENT doctor today for an evaluation.
Did you know that whether you’re talking normally, yelling or whispering, two tiny structures in your throat, commonly known as the vocal cords, collide and vibrate in various patterns to generate sound? If your vocal cords rub up against each other in a manner that generates more than enough friction, the specific spot where your vocal cords collide repeatedly could become inflamed and irritated. With this in mind, to prevent damage and further, you need to take good care of your vocal cords.
But first, you need to know about the common types of vocal cord lesions. When you come in for your consultation here at Midwest ENT in Chicago, IL, our ENT doctor, Dr. Gordon Siegel will examine your symptoms and recommend the best treatment plan for you. Depending on your symptoms you may be diagnosed with one of these vocal cord lesions.
Cysts are, basically, sacs filled with mucus or fluid. They typically develop when irritation on your vocal cords cause a glandular duct blockage. This duct is a tiny opening situated in your vocal cords’ tissue lining and it emits mucus and other kinds of substances. When this gets clogged, mucus accumulation may occur and result in the development of a vocal cord cyst. The cyst could then significantly change the natural vibration frequency of your voice that, in turn, could lead to an obvious change in your voice.
These are the most common kind of vocal cord lesions. A polyp can develop when your vocal cords repeatedly knock into each other and become inflamed or irritated. In general, polyps form during a traumatic event, like a prolonged period of shouting for instance, that causes blood blisters that turn into polyps. Polyps come in different sizes and can form on just one or both of your vocal cords.
Nodules are usually caused by repeated irritation of the vocal cords. They typically appear on both vocal cords, are firm, and look like calluses. Left unaddressed, nodules will continue growing and stiffening. This is why early diagnosis and prompt treatment is vital. Here at Midwest ENT in Chicago, IL, our ENT doctors can determine which vocal lesion you may have and suggest the most suitable treatment options available for your specific case.
These occur when your body tries to repair a vocal cord injury. Scar tissue is harder than normal tissue and can create vibrations that will alter your voice. Unlike polyps and nodules that you can treat with medications and therapy, scars on your vocal cords are permanent, unless you opt for surgery.
Do you suspect that you have a vocal cord lesion?
Vocal cord lesions can negatively affect the function of your vocal cords and change how your voice sounds. To that end, call Midwest ENT in Chicago, IL, at (312) 988-7777 to schedule your consultation with our ENT doctors, Dr. Gordon Siegel.
Midwest ENT is a member of Northwestern Private Practice, a group of independent physicians that provide top medical care to patients living in Chicagoland. We are all physicians with teaching appointments in the Feinberg Northwestern School of Medicine, and have the same privileges as the employed physicians. In most cases, we can see our existing or new patients in a timely fashion. We have physicians in almost every field of medicine and are committed to preserving the best quality of care. You can learn more about us on our website: www.northwesternprivatepractice.com. We look forward to the privilege of serving you now and for many years in the future.