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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Arizona doctor says people who have chronic sinusitis sleep poorly and may develop sleep apnea

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• People suffering from chronic sinusitis often experience low-quality sleep.

• Having chronic sinusitis increases a person's risk of developing sleep apnea.

• Sleep apnea, in turn, increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, and heart disease.

Dr. Brian Lee of Scottsdale Sinus and Allergy Center discussed the effects of chronic sinusitis on sleep in an interview with the Grand Canyon Times.

"Usually, patients with chronic sinusitis have issues breathing through the nose," Lee said. "Most patients come in saying that they're chronic mouth-breathers, they don't sleep very well, they wake up with a really dry mouth and they start snoring more or louder. A lot of that just comes down to their nose being plugged and not functioning properly. And that can definitely impact the quality of their sleep. And also if they do have sleep apnea, (sinusitis) can make that even worse."

The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that 60 to 75% of chronic sinusitis patients also experience poor sleep, while only 8 to 18% of those who don't have chronic sinusitis have the same issue. Poor sleep also greatly contributes to both a lower quality of life and a higher risk for depression.

According to Silent Night Therapy, chronic sinusitis patients also experience high levels of congestion and coughing, which makes breathing while sleeping harder and increases the likelihood of the sufferer also developing sleep apnea. Those with this condition are prone to frequently waking up at night gasping for air, suffering from headaches, and feeling fatigued during the day.

According to the American Heart Association, sleep apnea is commonly found in both men and people who are overweight. Those who suffer from the condition are also more likely to develop strokes, liver problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

As for treatments, WebMD reports that multiple surgical procedures are available for chronic sinusitis patients, including endoscopy and balloon sinuplasty. Endoscopy is a common procedure involving a doctor inserting a thin, flexible instrument called an endoscope into a patient's nose. One endoscope is rigged with a small camera lens, which sends photos to the doctor and allows them to locate sinus blockages and direct other endoscopes to remove polyps, scar tissue, and other materials. The procedure is minimally invasive and features no skin-level incisions, making recovery simple.

Balloon sinuplasty, in comparison, is a fairly new procedure that is recommended for patients who don't need anything removed from their sinuses. For this procedure, a doctor inserts a tube with a small balloon attached to one end into a patient's nose. Then, the doctor guides the balloon to the blockage and inflates it, clearing the passageway, allowing the sinuses to drain properly, and alleviating the patient's congestion.

If you're interested in learning more about the diagnosis or treatment of chronic sinusitis, please take this Sinus Self-Assessment Quiz.

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