Do You Have Trouble Breathing Through Your Nose?

Dr. Dan Lee On Rhinology

Most of us breathe so unconsciously that we barely give it a second thought. Take a moment to pay attention to your breath. Are you breathing through your mouth or your nose?

When you breathe through your nose, air is filtered and humidified before it enters your lungs, and you release nitric oxide which improves circulation. Mouth breathing is not as beneficial and can lead to tooth decay, bad breath and other ailments. However, when our nasal passages are blocked, mouth breathing is essential.

Rhinology is a subspecialty within the Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) or otolaryngology specialty that focuses on the treatment of the nose and the paranasal sinuses, restoring form and function to the nose and helping patients with their nasal breathing. This may include recurrent sinus infections, allergies, problems with taste and smell, nose bleeds, obstructed nasal airflow, and sinusitis.

In this video, board-certified ENT physician Dr. Dan Lee speaks about treating the diseases and ailments of the nose and sinus including allergies, acute & chronic sinusitis and rhinitis, and the treatments that help get his patients relief.

Some of the most common diseases associated with the nose are nasal obstruction, whether that be from nasal trauma or underlying allergies. Other issues might also include deformities, growths, infections and cosmetic concerns.

Some of the most common symptoms for patients suffering from sinusitis include:

*  Thick, discolored discharge from the nose (runny nose)
*  Drainage down the back of the throat (postnasal drainage)
*  Blocked or stuffy (congested) nose causing difficulty breathing through your nose.
*  Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead.

The most common initial treatments for sinusitis include saline nasal spray, which you spray into your nose several times a day to rinse your nasal passages, nasal corticosteroids, decongestants, mucus-thinning agents, allergy medications, and OTC (over the counter) pain relievers. Other options might be using a humidifier or vaporizer, hydrating with warm fluids (such as hot tea or chicken noodle soup), applying warm/hot facial compresses, or using a nasal nebulizer.

Patients may turn to surgery after other treatments such as medications, nasal sprays and humidifiers have been unsuccessful in ending symptoms or for chronic, recurring conditions. Sinus and nasal surgery is performed to enlarge the openings that drain the sinuses, in order to effectively treat conditions such as nasal congestion, rhinitis, sinusitis and sinus headache, polyps and others. Less common conditions, such as tumors of the sinuses or anterior skull base, can also be treated with minimally invasive techniques.

If you are experiencing sinus or nasal passage issues, schedule a consultation today at: 641-494-5380


Dan Lee, MD:

Rhinology is the practice of trying to restore form and function to the nose and try to help patients with their nasal breathing. Some of the most common diseases that we see associated with the nose would be nasal obstruction, whether that be from nasal trauma or underlying allergies. We see a lot of patients with allergic rhinitis, and I think one of the strengths here at the Mason City Clinic is that we are a full spectrum specialty hospital and that we have an allergist as well that can help treat patients with their underlying allergies. Other things that we treat within rhinology would be septal perforations or holes in the septum of the nose. We also see a lot of patients with chronic sinusitis and chronic rhinitis, drainage of the nose. We will often try to treat the patients with medical therapy, with irrigations and sprays in the nose, and try to maximize their allergy treatment. But sometimes we do have to operate down the nose to fix any nasal obstruction or sinus disease.

We also see patients who have a lot of chronic sinusitis that persist for many weeks. We also deal with patients who have recurrent episodes of sinusitis. They may have several infections per year. Oftentimes we try to treat the patients with medical therapy first, with antibiotics, courses of steroids, sprays, or anti-allergy medication. But there are some patients that have persistent disease even after optimizing all of their medical treatment. Those are the patients that we sometimes need to go in and alleviate their nasal obstruction or open up their sinuses to allow them to drain more properly and treat the chronic infection and allow the irrigations and other topical therapies to work.

I like to treat my patients as if they’re my family, and I truly feel that I understand and I get to connect with the patients here in Mason City. They’re hardworking people. I see them in the grocery store afterwards, and I feel like I’m a part of the community. I think that’s a really important part of being a physician here in this community.

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