Inhale deeply through your nose – unfortunately many people find this difficult. The reasons for this are often because, in the persons affected, the area behind the nostrils is too narrow, or they have unstable nasal wings. These people have to labour hard to get some air, unless they shift from nasal to oral breathing.
During respiration the nose carries out important functions: It regulates the stream of air, the moisture content and the temperature of the respiratory air. At the same time it filters the particles of dirt, bacteria and viruses out of the air that has been breathed in. If the air has been breathed in through the mouth, there is no longer this important filtering effect. This results in irritations of the mucous membrane in the pharynx, larynx and the bronchial system, as well as a higher frequency of infections. At night increased oral respiration can be partly responsible for sleep disorders as well as snoring.
Impaired nasal breathing can have various causes – an acute cold, for example. If there are underlying narrow nasal valves or unstable nasal wings, these can in many cases have congenital roots. If the problems do not occur until later on in life you speak of an “acquired narrowing of the nose“. This can develop, for example, as a result of injuries or due to old age, for instance through a weakness of the nasal connective tissue.
Many people suffer from so-called unstable nasal wings, for instance owing to the form of their nose. If they breathe in deeply the nostrils do not dilate, but the nasal wings are sucked in. The nostrils are thus partially or completely closed – breathing in through the nose is then impeded or, at the worst, virtually impossible.