When people are feeling anxious or nervous, one of the most common pieces of advice they get is to take a deep breath. But what if taking a deep breath is impossible?
Breathing problems are fairly common. Millions of people report having difficulty taking a deep breath or feeling as if they are constantly short of breath. Figuring out what’s behind a person’s breathing problems is the first step towards figuring out how to treat the issue.
One of the symptoms of allergies is feeling short of breath or as if you can’t inhale as fully and deeply as you would like. In fact, allergies are often the leading trigger for asthma, a condition that causes the airways to fill with mucus and become narrower. When a person has certain types of allergies, they can exhibit symptoms if they inhale a specific allergen, such as dust, pollen or mold spores. Allergies can also lead to chronic sinus infections, which cause their own breathing problems.
If you suspect that your allergies are contributing to your shortness of breath or other breathing difficulties, the first thing to do is schedule an allergy test. The test will determine what you’re allergic to. Depending on the results, you can try to use medications to treat the allergies or you can consider immunotherapy, which will help you build up a resistance to the allergens over time.
Nasal Polyps and Other Blockages
While some people struggle to take a breath because of allergens in the environment, others having difficulty breathing because of abnormalities in the internal structures of their nose and nasal cavities.
One common cause of breathing problems and other difficulties is the development of oversized sinus or nasal polyps. Polyps are growths that form inside the sinuses or nasal cavities. On the plus side, they are usually harmless and non-cancerous. On the minus side, they can usually be quite a nuisance, as they can block the passages or cavities, making it difficult for you to breath. In some cases, polyps can also increase issues such as congestion and snoring.
While plenty of people have polyps and have no problems with them, some do experience a decline in their quality of life thanks to the growths. If your surgeon identifies sinus polyps and believes that those polyps are contributing to breathing or other sinus issues, he will most likely recommend treatment to reduce the size of the growths or to remove them entirely.
Treatments can include allergy shots, using nasal steroid sprays, and in the most extreme cases, surgery to remove the growths.
Often, having chronic sinusitis and asthma go hand-in-hand. About half of people with asthma are also dealing with chronic sinus infections. The bad news is that having chronic sinusitis can make asthma and breathing troubles more difficult to control.
The good news is that treating a chronic sinus infection can improve asthma symptoms and breathing difficulties. Methods used for the treatment of chronic sinusitis in each case depend on the cause of the infection and how long it’s been going on. For some people, a prolonged course of antibiotics is enough for them to kick the infection (as long as bacteria is what is causing the issue).
If you have sinusitis that just won’t quit, no matter what you do, your surgeon might recommend a procedure such as balloon sinuplasty, a minimally invasive treatment that helps to increase the size of the sinus cavities, improving drainage and breathing.
By now, you probably know that carrying a few extra pounds often has a negative impact on your overall health. Being overweight can increase your risk for certain chronic conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes. It can also increase your risk for breathing difficulties. Having additional fat can increase inflammation in the body, which puts more strain on the lungs.
Another way that being overweight can interfere with breathing is by making it more difficult to breathe while you sleep. For some people, being overweight makes them more likely to snore. The size of the throat tissue can increase when a person puts on weight, which can obstruct the airway while you sleep.
In some cases, losing the extra weight can be enough to help improve your snoring, sleep and breathing difficulties.
ABOUT DR. RUBINSTEIN
Dr. Rubinstein has nearly sixteen years of experience helping patients with breathing problems in the Hudson Valley. A board-certified facial plastic surgeon and board-certified otolaryngologist, he has extensive knowledge of laser procedures, facial plastic surgery, and nasal and sinus treatments, which allows him to improve aesthetics as well as the functionality of the nose and facial features. Dr. Rubinstein received his board certifications through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. To learn more about how to treat and cope with breathing difficulties, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center by calling 845-562-6673.