Common Nasal Issues, Discussed by Dr. Nicholas Panella

Many times, allergies are the culprit agitating the delicate tissue in your nose, but that’s not the only thing we have to watch out for.

To help my patients and the many local people in East Tennessee, I want to discuss the most common nasal issues—and help people find a solution for them.

What Are Turbinates?

Nasal turbinates are thin, curved structures that line the inside of the nasal cavity. These structures are made up of soft, flexible tissue and contain blood vessels, which help to heat and humidify incoming air.

The turbinates are essential for proper airflow through the nasal passages. They also help filter and clean the incoming air and provide defense against foreign particles and bacteria.

Turbinates can become enlarged or swollen due to allergies or other conditions, leading to blocked airflow, which results in symptoms such as congestion and difficulty breathing.

Leading Causes of Agitated Turbinates

Allergies are a significant cause.

Whether it’s somebody that’s had allergies their entire life or just the cumulative effect of the things that are in the environment finally building up, the problem could be allergies.

So over time, nasal passages eventually get blocked.

Trauma can cause agitated turbinates, but some people are just born with large turbinates. This means they are bigger than average and too big for their body.

Since turbinates can take up a lot of space, this can lead to issues for many adults with enlarged turbinates.

Interesting Facts About Your Nose

The outside of the nose is what we recognize, which is cartilage or bone in the front part. This is the part that people think of when they say, “I broke my nose.”

The lower part of the nose is cartilage. It’s essentially a cartilage framework with skin draped on top of it. When we’re looking at a nose to diagnose nasal issues, it’s easy to tell when the septum and the turbinates don’t look too bad.

One of the next places we like to look is at the cartilages, because sometimes we see two separate problems.

Occasionally, the cartilages need to be stronger. So every time you take a breath in, they collapse, and when they collapse, it feels like you’ve got a valve that’s being closed.

Another common problem is the cartilage areas are too narrow. This could be a result of trauma or could be something the patient was born with.

These narrow areas shut off the air that’s trying to come into the nose.

How to Know What is Causing Your Nasal Issues

One of the best things about these treatment options is they do not require invasive imaging and usually do not require a camera or an endoscope.

At Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants of East Tennessee, we use a headlight and a nasal spectrum to evaluate the cause of your nasal obstruction.

If you’d like to discover what is causing your nasal issues, please schedule an appointment with us.

How to Protect Your Turbinates

Our experienced ENT doctors can help alleviate pain associated with nasal turbinates in a variety of ways.

First, we will take a detailed medical history and perform a physical examination to determine the underlying cause of the pain.

Once a diagnosis is made, we’ll develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

This may include lifestyle modifications, such as avoiding allergens or using a saline nasal spray to help reduce congestion.

Additionally, we may recommend in-office treatments such as nasal irrigation, turbinate reduction, or endoscopic sinus surgery.

No matter the cause of the pain, an experienced ENT doctor can help alleviate it and help you find relief. Don’t suffer in silence—seek out the help of an experienced ENT doctor and schedule your initial consultation today.

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Nicholas J. Panella, M.D.

Growing up in Knoxville, Nicholas went to Webb High School. While no day is the same, as he is constantly managing different projects as a general ENT, his practice specializes in head and neck cancer. The job can be difficult; however, he loves to work alongside a wonderful group of doctors and providers who all want to work together to help ensure patients have the best possible outcome. Everyone is so supportive of each other and loves to bring new techniques and surgical options to the East TN area. Outside of work, he dedicates his time to his wife and two young kids. They enjoy spending time on the lake, fishing, mountain biking, and snowboarding. He is also involved with his local church and the Emerald Youth Foundation

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