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Breathing problems occur for a number of different reasons. The most common long-term reasons are acute sinusitis, allergies, asthma, emphysema and COPD, which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Sometimes the breathing problems last for shorter periods of time. People that suffer from sinusitis may experience trouble breathing through their noses for a week or two, then the nasal cavity starts to drain and the inflammation begins to subside. Blockages inside the nose and throat occur from infections and allergens that enter through the nasal passage. Normally these blockages clear up in a matter of days, but if they last longer than two weeks or more, you should consult with an ear, nose or throat specialist.
Diagnosing Breathing Problems
ENTs use an assortment of tests to determine if you have acute breathing problems or the problems are short term. An ENT can find many problems associated with breathing through routine physical exams and chest X-Rays. Doctors also run pulmonary tests to determine your lung function and lung capacity. The tests help identify such long-term breathing problems as asthma, bronchitis and other diseases that may cause difficulty breathing. COPD Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is more common in people who smoke than any other demographic.
The two most common types of COPD are emphysema and acute bronchitis. However, lifelong smokers with chronic breathing problems most likely have both forms of COPD. In some instances, people who smoke for most of their lives never develop COPD but do sustain breathing problems because of the long-term damage to their lungs. Breathing Problems- Common Symptoms Two of the most common symptoms of breathing problems are shortness of breath and a prolonged cough with mucus.
Symptoms that represent serious problems that need immediate attention include shortness of breath during mild activities, chronic wheezing, extreme bouts of fatigue and a propensity to developing respiratory infections. If any of these symptoms last for prolonged periods of time, consult with an ENT right away.
Dr. Don J. Beasley, MD is a board-certified otolaryngologist who has been practicing ear, nose, and throat medicine in the Boise area for over 20 years. If you’re interested in scheduling a consultation, or are interested in learning more about how Dr. Beasley can help you today, feel free to contact us. Schedule a conulstation online, or call our office at (208) 229-2368.