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.
If you’ve been having trouble breathing due to sinus issues find out if surgery might help.
Most people will deal with a sinus infection at some point during their lifetime. While a stuffy nose, nasal congestion, and facial pressure may be uncomfortable these symptoms will usually go away within a week or two. Unfortunately, there are some people who suffer from chronic or recurring sinus infections. When this happens it’s a good time to turn to our Chicago otolaryngologist Dr. Gordon Siegel at Midwest ENT to find out what he can do to help.
The Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis
In order for a sinus infection to be chronic, symptoms have to last for more than 12 weeks. The common symptoms of sinusitis include,
- Nasal inflammation
- Thick nasal discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Nasal congestion
- Trouble breathing through the nose
- Coughing that’s worse at night
- Pain the ears
- Facial pain and pressure
- Bad breath
When to Consider Sinus Surgery
While many people won’t require surgery in order to effectively treat their sinusitis, surgery may be the best option for someone who has been dealing with chronic sinusitis that isn’t responding to nonsurgical treatments.
Only once a patient has exhausted all other treatment options will our Chicago otolaryngologist doctor recommend getting sinus surgery. Surgery is effective for removing blockages in the nasal cavity to drain the sinuses and restore breathing.
Before undergoing surgery, your otolaryngologist will run a CT scan of the sinuses about 4-6 weeks after starting sinusitis medication to see if it's working. This CT scan will also help us determine what might be causing your sinus infection.
We know that your goal is to find the best physicians in the Chicagoland area. That’s why Midwest ENT is proud to be part of Northwestern Private Practice, which provides patients with independent physicians who are working at the esteemed Northwestern Memorial Hospital and other Northwestern-affiliated clinics. Learn more about us on our website: www.northwesternprivatepractice.com.
We believe that getting medical care, from a simple ENT consultation to undergoing sinus surgery, should be quick and easy. We are often able to get patients in to see a doctor within a week. If you’re looking for an ENT doctor in Chicago to treat your sinus problems then turn to Dr. Siegel of Midwest ENT.
Do you have breathing problems such as wheezing, shortness of breath, a chronically stuffed nose, or throat tightness? If so, you should seek a consultation with your local ENT physician. These doctors have numerous ways to diagnose and treat your breathing problems associated with the nose and upper airway so you can function well and get on with your daily life.
The symptoms of breathing problems
Breathing problems associated with asthma, pneumonia, COPD, or bronchitis usually differ from those stemming from the nasal passages, larynx, or trachea. For respiratory difficulty associated with the lungs, patients see a pulmonary specialist. For the upper airway, people see an otolaryngologist.
What are the symptoms of upper airway breathing problems? You may experience some or all of the following:
- Wheezing which is noticeable to other people
- Persistent coughing
- Mouth breathing
- Voice hoarseness
- Fatigue to the extreme, particularly on exertion
- Throat tightness
- Constant nasal congestion and frequent nose blowing
What could be the cause?
According to Michigan Medicine, chronic or acute sinusitis (aka sinus infection) affects millions of people in the US. If left untreated, sinusitis leaves patients feeling fatigued due to the increased symptoms of coughing, congestion, and nose blowing.
Common causes for acute sinusitis include inflammation from allergies and exposure to viruses and bacteria from environmental pollution. Chronic sinusitis may stem from exposure to tobacco smoke, although it arises more commonly from nasal polyps, inflamed sinus turbinates, and deviated septums.
Diagnosing and treating breathing problems
As related to the upper airway, your ENT will ask you to describe your symptoms. Then, your nasal passages and sinuses will be examined with an endoscope, a thin, lighted tube which contains a small camera.
The otolaryngologist takes images of structures which could be obstructing your airway and causing your symptoms. Precise CT scanning gives the doctor more views of what's happening inside the air-filled cavities that we call sinuses.
Common treatments include steroidal sprays, oral steroids, antibiotics, allergy testing, pain treatment, and sinus surgery (a last resort option). Additionally, simple nasal irrigation with a Neti pot can flush out excess mucus, open passages, and reduce breathing difficulties.
Tackle your breathing problems
Your ENT doctor can help relieve your discomfort by listening to your symptoms, carefully performing a full assessment, and curating a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Make the call today!
Do you find yourself dealing with persistent sinus infections? Have nasal congestion and facial pressure become the norm? If so, then it’s time to turn to an otolaryngologist who can provide you with the relief that you need! While acute sinusitis is usually nothing to worry about and will go away fully after a few weeks of treatment, chronic sinusitis often needs a more proactive solution. If you have been battling a sinus infection for over 12 weeks and it’s not responding to treatment, then it’s time to consider other treatment options. Read on to learn more!
How to Treat Chronic Sinusitis
One of the ways to treat chronic nasal inflammation and blockages is through a simple endoscopic sinus procedure. Unlike traditional surgery, this procedure is minimally invasive and doesn’t require major incisions or removal of bone or tissue.
While this procedure isn’t necessary for patients dealing with acute bouts of sinusitis, if you are someone dealing with a true chronic form of sinusitis, then it might be time to consider endoscopic sinus surgery.
When you come in for a consultation, an ENT doctor will perform a physical exam and talk to you about your symptoms. Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis include,
- Nasal drainage
- Nasal obstruction and congestion
- Facial pressure or pain
- Post-nasal drip
- Frequent headaches
- Reduced smell or taste
Along with a physical exam, an otolaryngologist will insert an endoscope (a small tube with a camera) into the nostrils to look for drainage, blockages, or signs of infection or inflammation. Sometimes a CT scan is necessary to diagnose your infection.
When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis, your doctor will first turn to non-surgical treatment options like prescription steroids, antibiotics, nasal sprays, or allergy treatments (e.g. antihistamines).
If these treatments aren’t giving you the symptom relief that you need, then we will talk to you about whether minimally invasive sinus surgery is the right way to treat your chronic sinus symptoms.
How Minimally Invasive Sinus Surgery Works
During this procedure, an ENT specialist will insert an endoscope into the blocked or inflamed nostril and guide it gently through the sinuses. There are different methods involved in this type of sinus surgery. Sometimes at the end of the endoscope is a camera, which allows us to carefully remove enlarged tissue to improve breathing. Any pus or signs of infection are also drained out. Once this procedure is performed, certain medications are prescribed for long-term management.
Balloon sinuplasty has become another popular minimally invasive sinus procedure because it does not require any tissue removal. Instead of a camera at the end of the endoscope, there is a deflated balloon that is inflated once it’s placed into the blocked or inflamed nasal cavity. As the balloon is inflated, it opens up the blocked passageway so it can properly drain. Then the doctor will clean out the sinuses with a saline solution to remove any remaining pus or bacteria.
Give Us a Call!
Minimally invasive sinus surgery is extremely effective at treating chronic sinusitis. If you are dealing with this condition, then it’s time to talk to your otolaryngologist about whether this procedure is right for you.
Find out which type of hearing aid will help you get back in the conversation again.
Has an ENT doctor or audiologist determined that you have hearing loss? If so, you may be wondering, “What now?” Well, the next step is to get fitted for a hearing aid. Of course, with all the advancements in technology there are now so many options when it comes to hearing aids that it can be a bit confusing. Here are some things to consider when shopping for a hearing aid,
Discretion is usually one of the most important factors that someone mentions when getting a hearing aid (we know being able to hide your hearing aid from others is important). Of course, there are other factors to consider that can help you determine the right style for you. Common hearing aid styles include:
- Behind-the-ear (often the most versatile hearing aid to accommodate all severities of hearing loss)
Special and Advanced Features
Hearing aids now come with some pretty awesome features and while some may not apply to you or be particularly important for your lifestyle, there are other features that you may wish to have. Top features include:
This feature separates out dynamic sounds (e.g. television; conversations) from static sounds (e.g. running water) and increases the dynamic sounds while reducing static sounds, making it easier to hear what you actually want to hear.
Noisy environments can be a real pain for people with hearing loss. Here’s where the directionality feature on a hearing aid comes in handy. Instead of just “turning up” the volume on all sounds around you, this feature allows you to hear what’s in closer proximity and help you turn your attention and focus on the person in front of you rather than the noisy environment around you. This is particularly helpful for those who work in loud environments such as restaurants.
Just because a hearing aid has more channels than another doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. What it means is that these different channels offer ways to adjust different frequencies. Therefore, those dealing with both low-end and high-end pitch problems can adjust the volume on one without necessarily adjusting the volume on another. The idea is that these different channels help even out what a person can hear.
Your Hearing Loss
Of course, the type and severity of your hearing loss will also play a factor in which kind of hearing aid will truly give you the best opportunity to understand those around you. This is something that your otolaryngologist can discuss with you during your evaluation and fitting. There are many options available for those dealing with everything from mild to profound hearing loss.
Are you ready to sit down with an ENT specialist to discuss your hearing aid options? Don’t put off addressing your hearing difficulties. The sooner you treat your hearing loss the better.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.