Nose: The Guardian of Your Lungs

Do You Know How Important Our Nose Is?

Nose is a very important organ which the heats, warms and moistens the atmosphere air. Filtration of foreign substances in the external environment and ensures that all the particles. Other than of smelling it has very important tasks associated with breathing air.

Pressurized, clean, warm and humidified air is passed from nose to the end of airway in lung. Compared to the mouth, the nasal airway passages are small. Nasal breathing should be of a smallish volume because of order to make the its important physiological functions. In an adult, 18,000 to 20,000 liters of air pass through the nose each day. Normally working of nose is very important for absorption of oxygen in the lungs. Furthermore, nasal filtering of breathing air is very important for the prevention of pulmonary infection. Turbinates are at the head of the tissues responsible for nasal functions. There are 3 turbinates inside the cavity of each. The most important of these 3 turbinates is the inferior turbinates. They are unique tissues in the nose, similar to sausage, that are warm, covered with a layer of mucus and ciliated epithelium.

The nose, often referred to as the "guardian of your lungs," plays a vital role in protecting and maintaining the health of your respiratory system. While commonly known as an organ of smell and a prominent facial feature, the nose serves several crucial functions related to breathing and lung health. Let's explore how the nose acts as a guardian for your lungs:

1. Filtration: One of the primary functions of the nose is to filter the air you breathe. As air enters through the nostrils, it encounters tiny hairs called cilia and a mucous membrane lining the nasal passages. These structures work together to trap and filter out airborne particles such as dust, allergens, bacteria, and viruses. By removing these harmful particles, the nose prevents them from reaching the lungs and causing respiratory issues.

2. Humidification: The nose also helps humidify the air you breathe. The mucous membrane within the nasal passages secretes moisture, which adds humidity to the incoming air. This moisture is essential for keeping the respiratory system properly hydrated, preventing dryness in the airways and reducing the risk of irritation or inflammation.

3. Warming: In addition to humidifying the air, the nose also helps warm it before it reaches the lungs. As the air passes through the nasal passages, it comes into contact with the warm blood vessels located close to the surface of the mucous membrane. This process helps raise the temperature of the air to a more optimal level, which is important for maintaining the optimal function of the respiratory system.

4. Odor Detection: The nose is well-known for its role in detecting and distinguishing various scents and odors. While this function may not directly relate to lung health, it plays a crucial role in our overall well-being. The ability to detect harmful odors, such as smoke or gas leaks, alerts us to potential dangers and allows us to take appropriate actions to protect ourselves and our lungs from harmful substances.

5. Structural Support: The shape and structure of the nose contribute to maintaining the proper alignment and function of the respiratory system. The nasal bones, cartilage, and soft tissues provide structural support, ensuring that the airway remains open and unobstructed. A well-functioning nose helps facilitate smooth and unimpeded airflow, promoting efficient breathing and optimal lung function.

By performing these important functions, the nose acts as a guardian for your lungs, helping to ensure the air you breathe is clean, humidified, and properly conditioned before it reaches your respiratory system. Maintaining a healthy nose through proper hygiene, avoiding harmful pollutants, and addressing any nasal issues or abnormalities can contribute to the overall well-being of your lungs and respiratory health. If you have concerns about your nasal health or respiratory system, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance and appropriate care.

Little Known Information About Our Nose

Positional nasal congestion

During sleep, the lying side (underlying turbinate) becomes edematous and the intranasal airway narrows. Especially in deep sleep, during the period when the respiratory rate slows down and deep breathing is performed, there is an increase in the heating, humidification and pressurization functions in the nose with this increased intranasal airway resistance, and there is an increase in the amount of oxygen absorbed in the lung end alveoli. At the same time, if the body turns rhythmically to the other side, the same process begins for the nasal cavity below. In this way, posture changes can be stimulated at certain intervals during sleep, and neck and shoulder pain may occur in patients with Empty Nose Syndrome who underwent turbinate resection due to unilateral long-term lying. In patients undergoing Turbinate resection, the underlying turbinate tissue cannot be sufficiently congested, cold, dirty, unpressurized and dry air is sent to the lungs, the terminal airways cannot inflate sufficiently and oxygen absorption decreases. During sleep, it is normal for one nostril to become clogged or close to occlusion; Simultaneous occlusion of both nostrils is not normal and cannot be tolerated easily.

Positional nasal congestion refers to a condition where nasal congestion or stuffiness worsens or improves depending on the position of the body. It is characterized by a feeling of blockage in the nose, difficulty breathing through the nose, and a sense of increased pressure or fullness.

Here are some key points to understand about positional nasal congestion:

1. Causes: Positional nasal congestion can have various underlying causes. It may be related to anatomical factors such as nasal septum deviation, nasal valve collapse, or enlarged turbinates. These structural issues can obstruct the airflow and cause congestion to worsen in certain positions. Other factors that can contribute to positional congestion include allergies, sinusitis, nasal polyps, and nasal tumors.

2. Positional Changes: Individuals with positional nasal congestion often report experiencing more pronounced symptoms when lying down, particularly when lying on their back. This is because the effects of gravity can further obstruct the nasal passages, leading to increased congestion and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may improve or lessen when sitting upright or when assuming a different position.

3. Treatment Options: The treatment of positional nasal congestion depends on the underlying cause. If the congestion is primarily due to structural issues, surgical interventions such as septoplasty (to correct a deviated septum), turbinate reduction, or nasal valve repair may be considered. For congestion caused by allergies or sinusitis, medications like antihistamines, nasal decongestants, corticosteroids, or saline nasal sprays may be prescribed. It is important to consult with an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) or a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

4. Lifestyle Modifications: Some lifestyle modifications can help alleviate symptoms of positional nasal congestion. Using nasal strips or dilators to help open the nasal passages, sleeping with the head slightly elevated, maintaining good nasal hygiene by regularly rinsing the nasal passages with saline solution, and avoiding triggers that worsen congestion (such as allergens or irritants) can provide temporary relief.

5. Seeking Medical Advice: If you experience persistent or severe positional nasal congestion, it is recommended to seek medical advice. A healthcare professional can evaluate your symptoms, conduct a physical examination, and possibly order additional tests to determine the underlying cause. They can then provide appropriate treatment options or refer you to an ENT specialist for further evaluation and management.

Remember, positional nasal congestion can have various causes, and treatment options may differ depending on the underlying factors. Seeking professional medical guidance is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and effective management of the condition.

Nasal septum deviation can affect sleeping position!

Nasal septum deviation can affect sleeping position!
When patients with nasal septum deviation, especially in the "nasal valve region", which is the narrowest airway area in the nose, pull their cheeks in contact with the pillow during sleep, there is a serious increase in the intranasal airway and they may have to lie on the constantly deviated side (even in my sleep habit. they can express this situation without knowing it). Link to an article I prepared beforehand about the Cottle maneuver and the subject >> Recommended Sleep Positions for Snoring, Sleep Apnea and Pregnancy

Nasal congestion can facilitate the occurrence of sleep apnea!

In patients with nasal congestion, the dilator muscle group that opens the throat cannot work and sleep with the mouth open may occur. In this case, collapse and airway closure may occur in the upper airways during sleep. The nose works like an organ that purifies, heats, humidifies and pressurizes the outside air so that the lungs can function normally and healthily. As nasal congestion increases, there is a direct decrease in blood oxygen saturation. In patients with obstructive sleep apnea, in addition to treatments for the areas in the mouth that cause collapse; Treatment of nasal congestion can also increase the success of treatment by more than 20%. When our nose is blocked, the muscles that work while breathing deeply and expand the air passage inside the mouth - inside the larynx (dilator) cannot work. Similarly, when we stick our tongue out of the mouth, we cannot swallow.

Nasal congestion can indeed play a role in the occurrence of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. Here's how nasal congestion can facilitate the occurrence of sleep apnea:

1. Obstructed Airflow: Nasal congestion, caused by factors such as allergies, sinusitis, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum, can obstruct the nasal passages. When the nasal passages are blocked, it becomes more difficult to breathe through the nose. As a result, individuals may instinctively switch to breathing through the mouth during sleep. Mouth breathing can disrupt the normal airflow and contribute to the development or worsening of sleep apnea.

2. Increased Resistance: Nasal congestion increases the resistance to airflow through the nose. The airway becomes narrower, making it harder for air to pass freely. This increased resistance can lead to a greater likelihood of airflow restriction or collapse during sleep, contributing to the occurrence of sleep apnea events.

3. Negative Pressure in the Airway: When nasal congestion restricts the airflow, it can create negative pressure within the upper airway. This negative pressure can cause the soft tissues in the throat to collapse or obstruct the airway, resulting in episodes of apnea (the temporary cessation of breathing). The presence of nasal congestion can exacerbate this negative pressure effect, making the airway more susceptible to collapse.

4. Fragmented Sleep: Nasal congestion can disrupt normal sleep patterns. The discomfort and difficulty in breathing caused by nasal congestion can lead to fragmented sleep, with frequent awakenings or arousal from deep sleep stages. Sleep fragmentation can contribute to the development or worsening of sleep apnea by altering the sleep architecture and impairing the normal functioning of the respiratory system during sleep.

It's important to note that nasal congestion alone may not cause sleep apnea, as this sleep disorder typically involves multiple factors, including anatomical, physiological, and neurological aspects. However, nasal congestion can certainly contribute to the occurrence or aggravation of sleep apnea in individuals who are already predisposed to the condition.

If you suspect that nasal congestion is affecting your sleep or worsening your sleep apnea symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a sleep specialist or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist). They can assess your condition, identify the underlying causes of nasal congestion, and provide appropriate treatment options to alleviate the congestion and manage sleep apnea effectively. Treatment may include addressing the nasal congestion through medication, nasal sprays, nasal irrigation, allergy management, or surgical interventions, in combination with other sleep apnea therapies like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or oral appliances.

If your nose is blocked and itchy in an environment, be careful for allergies!

Nose FunctionsIn an environment with particles or allergens and microbes that are not suitable for the lungs, congestion and turbinate size increase in our nose in order to prevent the particles and allergens that are not suitable for the lungs in the environment, such as the filter of the air conditioners in the room, from reaching the lungs. If there are particles in the environment that we are allergic to and that cannot be seen with the naked eye, our nose will become itchy, stuffy, sneezing and runny nose may occur. In this case, what we should not pay attention to is that "this environment contains particles that are not very suitable for us and this environment should be avoided". In case of repeated allergen and particle contact, "turbinate hypertrophy" may occur, which can cause nasal congestion. Centuries ago, doctors interpreted this condition as a "nasal problem", "anatomical problem", "tissue causing unnecessary nasal congestion" and defined "interventions involving total excision, partial resection or exaggerated reduction of turbinates". The resulting nasal congestion here has been interpreted as an "unnecessarily blocked nose" rather than "a nose trying to protect the lungs". Today, as we live in increasingly industrialized societies, "we need a healthy nose more and more" as there is an increase in air pollution, an increase in viral environment contact with an increase in the number of people, and an increase in allergen contact. We need healthy turbinates for a healthy nose. All structures in the nose are important and all have their own duties. The air entering the nose should proceed with a circular and rotational air. When the turbinates are over-shrunk or resected, when there is a perforation of the nasal septum, the airflow becomes linear and accelerated (like a laser beam), and the dry, dirty, unpressurized and cold air first moves to the nasal passages and then to the lower respiratory tract.

If you experience a blocked and itchy nose in a particular environment, it's essential to be cautious as it could be a sign of allergies. Allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to substances in the environment known as allergens. Here's why a blocked and itchy nose can be indicative of allergies:

1. Nasal Congestion: Allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or mold spores can trigger an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. When you come into contact with these allergens, your immune system releases chemicals like histamine, leading to nasal inflammation and congestion. The congestion causes a stuffy or blocked feeling in the nose, making it difficult to breathe through your nostrils.

2. Itchiness: Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, is a type of allergic reaction that specifically affects the nose and eyes. It often causes itchiness in the nasal passages, along with other symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, and an itchy throat. The itchiness can be quite bothersome and can contribute to a persistent urge to rub or scratch the nose.

3. Other Allergic Symptoms: Alongside nasal congestion and itchiness, allergies can manifest in other ways. You may experience sneezing, a runny nose, post-nasal drip (excess mucus dripping down the throat), and even red, watery eyes. These symptoms can vary in severity depending on the individual and the specific allergen involved.

4. Triggers and Environment: Allergies are often triggered by exposure to specific substances or environments. Common environmental allergens include pollen during certain seasons, dust mites in bedding or upholstered furniture, pet dander, and mold spores in damp areas. If your blocked and itchy nose occurs primarily in certain environments, it may suggest an allergic reaction to substances present in that specific setting.

If you suspect allergies as the cause of your symptoms, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, such as an allergist or an ear, nose, and throat specialist. They can help determine the specific allergens that may be causing your symptoms through allergy testing, which can involve skin prick tests or blood tests. Once the allergens are identified, appropriate management strategies can be recommended, including avoidance measures, medications (such as antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids), and allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) for long-term relief.

Remember, proper diagnosis and management of allergies are crucial for alleviating symptoms and improving your quality of life. Seeking medical advice can help identify the triggers, provide effective treatment options, and guide you in managing your allergic symptoms appropriately.

Our nose was very important in the coronavirus epidemic!

In people with a healthy nose, almost all viruses that infect the upper respiratory tract are caught by the nose. Actually, I would like to tell you about a wonderful cycle here. Here is some information about the work and structure of turfnates, which are amazing textures:

- Inferior turbinates are in the shape of a cylinder or sausage, and when we breathe air through the nose, the air that hits it rotates.
- There is a microcapillary system and blood circulation network inside the turbinates, which makes them warmer than other body tissues.
- Outside the turbinates, there is the respiratory tract epithelium, which has a cilia structure, these cilia push the mucus layer, which is contaminated and covered with particles, microorganisms, on the trurbinates, towards the back of the nose, we swallow this dirty mucus without realizing it, and the gastric juice and mucus in our stomach, which is close to the acidity, and its contents are destroyed.
- There is a regularly renewed mucus layer on the turbinates, this mucus layer creates a surface area to which airborne particles and microorganisms adhere to it.

In other words, turbinates purify, warm, humidify, pressurize and make the air suitable for the lungs.

The middle and superior turbinates do not work as well as the inferior turbinates and are smaller. During rapid siphoning, the nasal wings collapse inward, allowing the air to strike as much inferior turbinate air as possible. Indeed, our nose is a unique organ. In some of the patients who underwent turbinate resection, drying of the mucous membrane in the nose, infection may occur, and patients may talk about the appearance of painful stimuli in the nose over time. Some patients may express that their pain has become unbearable (Michael Jackson was also known to have empty nose syndrome and needed pain medication regularly). Again, in patients with empty nose syndrome, intranasal mucus movement is impaired, and the mucus layer may become dark and sticky when it comes into contact with extremely fast, dirty and cold air. There may be a feeling of dryness and soreness in the nasal passages. Likewise, dryness in the lower respiratory tract, increased secretion and decreased oxygen absorption, and air hunger may occur.

A person who has undergone turbinate resection, long-term travel in a closed environment (such as a flight) in the coronavirus epidemic can easily cause coronavirus transmission.

Tips to keep our nose healthy

In order for the nasal mucosa to be healthy and to have healthy turbinates, you can pay attention to the following recommendations:

- No objects such as napkins, fingers, paper towels that can dry the mucous membrane should be inserted into the nose.
- It is beneficial to drink water regularly and to consume vegetables and fruits with high water content.
- Drinks such as black tea and coffee, excessively salty foods can facilitate the drying of the nasal mucosa, it is useful to drink more water than usual when these drinks and foods are consumed
- When the environmental conditions are cold - dry or hot-dry, it is appropriate to additionally irrigate the inside of the nose with natural ocean waters and use natural nasal moisturizers if there is nasal dryness.
- In the case of allergy pills, cortisone nasal sprays and decongestants that can cause drying of the nasal mucosa, if there is nasal dryness, it is appropriate to pay attention to the above recommendations as much as possible.

For these and many other reasons, normal nasal function is essential.

Do your lungs a favor; take care of your nose.

The balance between aesthetics and function is very important when performing a rhinoplasty operation!

The balance between aesthetics and function is very important when performing a rhinoplasty operation!
While performing rhinoplasty, as otolaryngologists, we aim to both normalize the functions of the nose and improve the nose aesthetically. I usually reject patients who have a very thin nose with narrowed holes, knowing that their nose will be blocked because it is both ethically and medically wrong to harm and mediate a person irreversibly. I would like to share an experience with you. A female patient who had a rhinoplasty operation in a different clinic came with a complaint of nasal congestion. When I started to examine the patient, I found that the nostrils were reduced so that the nasal endoscope could not enter the nostril, and that the nostrils were narrowed by resection of the alar base. In this way, I learned that a nose tip was formed by the patient's own request and the surgery was designed according to the patient's request. In this case, I informed the patient that in order to re-enlarge the patient's nose wings, a complicated procedure may be required, which may require additional skin transplantation. In the future, if this woman gains weight or becomes pregnant, it is inevitable that serious respiratory problems will occur. "Preserving or normalizing the anatomical structure of the nose" and "respect for anatomy" are the main rules in a nose surgery. Again, when some patients with very thick skin want a very thin nose tip, serious respiratory distress may occur due to excessive reduction of the nostrils. It is ideal that you consider the recommendations of your doctor who examined you in this regard.

If Nasal Congestion Is Permanent or Persistent Consult an ENT Specialist!

The healthy functioning of our nose is very important for the normal and healthy functioning of our lungs. Although temporary blockage of our nose during allergy or viral upper respiratory tract infections can be seen as a normal situation; Persistent nasal congestion is an important problem for health. In the presence of the following conditions, patients with nasal congestion should be examined by an otolaryngologist:
- open mouth breathing while walking
- straining and mouth breathing while climbing stairs
- Sleeping with your mouth open all the time, dryness in the throat and decreased sleep quality

In the presence of the above conditions, it is necessary to plan treatments for nasal obstruction. In the simplest way, septoplasty and turbinate radiofrequency reduction procedures performed for nasal septum deviation and turbinate hypertrophy are very effective in the treatment of nasal obstruction.

Overreducted (or Resected) Turbinate and Septum Perforation: Very Wide Air Passage and Impaired Air Circulation

Overreducted (or Resected) Turbinate and Septum Perforation: Very Wide Air Passage and Impaired Air Circulation

The photo above shows a perforation of the nasal septum with only a small portion of the left inferior turbinate and an enlarged right nasal cavity volume. In this patient, both the over-shrunken and deactivated inferior turbinate and nasal septum perforation, which contributes in addition to the acceleration of the air entering the nose, are seen. The patient is likely to have Empty Nose Syndrome and Nasal Hyperventilation findings. Unfortunately, nasal septum deviation operation (septoplasty) and turbinate reduction, which are normally quite simple procedures, can cause these complications when performed with wrong techniques. Normally, there should be a few mm distance between the inferior turbinate and the nasal septum, but since nearly 95% of the inferior turbinate is resected, an air hole larger than 3 cm is seen (the nose is made cylindrical and rounded, almost like the oral cavity). Normally, the right and left nasal cavities work independently of each other; when there is nasal septum perforation; The two intranasal cavities merge with each other and become a single cavity. Nasal cavity narrowing with inferior meatal cartilage implantation was planned along with the recommendation of nasal septum perforation for this patient. Currently, there is no treatment tool for regenerating Turbinate. Due to the permanent alteration of the anatomy in this way, permanent damage and reduction in the nasal structures, symptoms such as severe decrease in nasal functions, atrophic changes in the upper respiratory tract mucosa, drying, crusting and bleeding may occur in patients. There are many similar patients like the patient in this photo.

Link group where you can find detailed information about nose functions on this website >>

Source links:

  • Fact Sheet: Your Nose, the Guardian of Your Lungs
  • Nasal Physiology - eMedicine World Medical Library - Medscape
  • The physiology of the nose
  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Nose and Throat
  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Nose and Throat | CHOP | The ...
  • Nasal Physiology and Pathophysiology of Nasal Disorders - Springer
  • Anatomy and Physiology of the Nose and Throat - Online Medical ...
  • Applied anatomy and physiology of the nose and paranasal sinuses
  • Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology Mechanics ... - Bioengineering 

  • Murat Enoz, MD, Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon - ENT Doctor in Istanbul

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