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Each breath is precious yet most of us go days, weeks, even months without being conscious of our breathing. But, if breathing is difficult then all else in life can suddenly pale in comparison to the need for more air. If you have ever personally experienced a severe shortness of breath then you will certainly relate to this. Of course, even a minor inhibition of our ability to breath can impact things like productivity, athletic performance, sleep quality, mental sharpness and a host of other quality of life issues.

When someone breathes in, air passes first through the nose and then into the trachea (windpipe). The trachea then branches into two tubes (bronchi) where air passes into the lungs. Once inside the lungs, oxygen is absorbed into tiny sacs called alveoli that exchange the oxygen for carbon dioxide. The oxygen is then transported into the blood stream while the carbon dioxide is expelled from our bodies on a reverse path when we breathe out. While the basic process of breathing is fairly easy to understand the number of ways of breathing can be negatively impacted is fairly large and complex.

As mentioned above, breathing starts with the nose and there are a variety of ways in which the nose can be compromised. For instance, a deviated septum (tissue that separates the two sides of the nose) can cause an inefficient passageway, a nasal polyp can obstruct airflow or inflammation of the paranasal sinus (sinusitis) that constricts the nasal airway can all constrain breathing. Likewise, the trachea can be a source of breathing issues including; stenosis which is an inflammation that can lead to scarring or narrowing of the windpipe, tracheomalacia which is a loss of rigidity in the trachea, or a foreign body that has lodged itself in the windpipe.

Obviously, if you feel the any severe difficultly in breathing you should seek immediate medical attention. If the difficulty is moderate then you need to schedule a consultation with a qualified physician as soon as possible. Less severe, prolonged problems, should also be examined by a qualified physician. At Wagner ENT we have over 20 years of experience treating breathing problems and we also feature a wide array of the latest technology to help us diagnosis these problems. If you are suffering from breathing issues, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Lungs diagram