Breathing Problem Evaluation

If you have allergies, asthma, or other breathing problems, this proverb may sound very familiar. But a better understanding of your condition, along with the right diagnosis and treatment, can help you take control. It doesn’t matter what type of breathing problem you have.

What Causes Breathing Problems?

Some people have trouble breathing when they get cold. For others, it’s caused by infections like sinusitis. Sinusitis can make it hard to breathe through your nose for a week or two until the inflammation eases and your congested sinuses begin to drain.

Many breathing problems are long-term (chronic). These include chronic sinusitis, allergies, and asthma. They can cause symptoms such as nasal congestion, a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, chest congestion, coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, and shallow breathing.

Your nasal passage is a pathway for viruses and allergens to enter your lungs. So your nose and sinuses are often linked with many lung disorders. Sinus or nasal passage inflammation may trigger asthma attacks.

Causes

There can be a number of causes of breathing problems. They can happen due to colds, acute sinusitis, or inflammation of sinuses. This usually subsides in a week or two with the inflammation going down and the sinuses draining out.

But if you are still experiencing breathing problems, you could be in more dangerous territory.

Breathing difficulties can happen in a case of asthma, allergies, and infections of the lungs, bronchitis and even heart problems especially if you feel a shortness of breath during exertion. These can all be long-term problems that need proper management.

Symptoms

Chronic issues that cause breathing problems, especially asthma and allergies have a number of symptoms like

Nasal and chest congestion

Runny nose

Itchy or watery eyes

Cough

Wheezing

Laboured and/or shallow breathing.

A number of virus and allergens like pollen reach the lungs via the nasal passage. Any inflammation in the nasal passage due to an allergy is a major cause for concern because the number one trigger for asthma is allergies. If left undiagnosed and untreated, these can make life hell for you.

Which tests are used to diagnose breathing problems?

Doctors diagnose breathing problems by performing a physical exam, taking a patient history and family health history, and using different tests. For instance, pulmonary function tests, also known as lung function tests, are frequently used to assess lung function in people with asthma. These tests include spirometry and a test known as methacholine challenge. Spirometry is a simple breathing test. It measures how much air you can blow in and out of your lungs, and how fast and how easily you can do this. A methacholine challenge test may be performed to help establish a diagnosis of asthma.