You’re struggling to catch your breath and the feeling is horrible. Called dyspnea, this type of shortness of breath can be caused by a wide range of issues that range from perfectly harmless to medically concerning.
To help you better identify what may be causing your breathing issue, Cecil Yeung, MD, and Marcus Hershey, MD are ear, nose, and throat specialists, otherwise known as otolaryngologists, here at Houston Sinus Surgery who have outlined a few of the more common causes of dyspnea.
Causes of shortness of breath
For the sake of clarity, we’re going to divide dyspnea into two different categories: acute and ongoing.
Acute breathing problems can include anything from a respiratory infection that blocks your nasal passageways to extreme temperatures that can make breathing more difficult. Other acute breathing issues can be related to:
- Broken ribs
- Heart attack
- Pulmonary embolism
As you can see from this list, some causes of acute dyspnea are far more serious than others, and it’s important that you take action if you’re unsure as to why you’re suddenly struggling to breathe.
Making matters a little more complicated, you may have regular acute problems with shortness of breath brought on by allergic reactions or anxiety issues, such as panic attacks.
Issues that can lead to ongoing problems with shortness of breath include:
- Nasal or sinus issues
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Heart failure
While these causes of dyspnea can be quite serious, you may also routinely struggle to breathe if you’re out of shape.Sinus-related issues that can cause dyspnea
Since we’re a practice devoted to ear, nose, and throat issues, we want to focus on the causes of shortness of breath that may be related to your nose or sinuses. These causes can include the following:
- Chronic sinusitis, which can result in nasal congestion and post-nasal drip
- Deviated septum
- Nasal polyps
- Enlarged nasal turbinates (turbinate hypertrophy)
- Reactive asthma
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
If you suspect that your breathing issues may be tied to a problem in your sinuses or nose, we urge you to come see us for a full evaluation. Using the most advanced diagnostic tools, we can determine if a structural issue or chronic inflammation is affecting your nasal passageways or sinuses.
If we find this to be the case, we can take the steps necessary to restore your ability to breathe freely and deeply. As examples of our many treatment options, we can address your breathing issues through:
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery
- Balloon sinuplasty
- Surgery for turbinate or nasal deformities
If you think your shortness of breath may be related to a sinus or nasal issue, book an appointment online or over the phone with Houston Sinus Surgery today. We’ll give you a thorough examination and discuss your options.