Urgent Care - Gardendale
210 Fieldstown Road, Suite 124
Gardendale, AL 35071
205-285-8252
 

The nose serves three primary functions: to warm, humidify and filter air as it passes into the body. Breathing problems may impact one or multiple of these functions. Breathing problems can be temporary or chronic, mild or severe, but they usually increase with age. Breathing problems are assessed through physical examination along with breathing tests, such as lung function tests for diagnosing asthma or spirometry to determine how much and how fast you can blow air out of your lungs. X-rays and CT scans may also be taken to get a visual picture of your breathing apparatus. The most common breathing problems are discussed below:

Allergies

When an allergen (pollens, dust, molds) enters the body, the immune system kicks in to counter to the effects. In most cases, the immune systems produces histamine, which causes the symptoms typically associated with allergies and hay fever: headaches, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, nasal congestion and scratchy throat. Allergic substances range from pollens to environmental and chemical pollutants. Smoking can also contribute to nasal congestion. To treat allergies, most people need to reduceg exposure to the allergen and take medication, often antihistamines and nasal decongestants.

Lung Diseases

Allergies can progress to include the lungs where release of histamine causes the same problems as in the nose. This is the usual mechanism behind asthma: swelling and the creation of too much mucous in the airways. Like the nose, the lungs become obstructed and shortness of breath occurs. Significant shortness of breath can be determined by observing if you or someone suffering asthma is unable to complete a whole sentence without taking a breath. That person needs urgent medical care.

Certain lung diseases can also cause breathing problems, including asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis).

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus tissue behind the upper cheeks on both sides of the nose, between the eyes and above the eyes. It is characterized by congestion and a feeling of pressure, sometimes in response to moving up and down. Sinus pressure can also cause watery eyes. Many over-the-counter medications suffice in treating mild sinusitis. For more serious cases, prescription medications may be required to alleviate the pain and pressure and open up the nasal passages. Occasionally, surgery is required to remove chronically inflamed sinus tissue.

NOTE! 

A very well done recent study of 600+ people who all had "sinus infections" has shown that 97% of all of these are caused by viral illness in combination with poorly draining sinuses. This is important in the ongoing battle to minimize use of antibiotics and thereby slow the creation of antibiotic resistant bacteria known as "super bugs".