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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Connecticut doctor says chronic sinusitis sufferers are more likely to develop sleep apnea

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• People suffering with 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.


CT ENT Sinus Center's Dr. Robert Weiss elaborated on the dangers of poor sleep in an interview with Litchfield Hills Today.


"We're supposed to breathe through our nose, not our mouth," Weiss said. "Now you've got obstruction in the nose. You are completely reversing what's supposed to be happening, which can lead to poor sleep because you're not comfortable breathing. [Did] you stop breathing during sleep to a point where it's pathological? If you stop breathing for 30 seconds or 45 seconds, things will start to happen. The CO2 in your bloodstream is going to rise, and it's going to wake you up eventually, and it cycles.


"If every time you start to fall asleep, you stop breathing, you never actually get into a rhythm of deep sleep. When they study sleep apnea patients, they look at the stages of sleep, from very light sleep to REM, where you dream, to deep, deep stages of sleep. (Sleep apnea patients') sleep profile is not good. They're never getting that quality time at night when they should be. So they may lie in bed for eight hours and maybe sleep lightly, but they're not getting quality sleep. And that can lead to all of the problems associated with sleep apnea, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and car accidents because you're not awake enough during the day."


The National Institutes of Health's 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 suffer from the same. Poor sleep is also a prime contributor to both a lower quality of life and a higher risk of depression.


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


The American Heart Association reports that both men and people who are overweight are more likely to develop sleep apnea. Those who suffer from the condition are also more likely to develop heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, liver problems and stroke. Heart disease is the number one No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.


WebMD reports that there are multiple options available for chronic sinusitis sufferers, including endoscopy and balloon sinuplasty. The former is a common procedure in which a doctor inserts a thin, flexible instrument called an endoscope into a patient's nose. One endoscope is rigged with a small camera lens, which feeds images to the doctor, allowing them to locate sinus blockages and direct other endoscopes to remove the harmful materials, including polyps and scar tissue. The procedure features no skin incisions and is minimally invasive, making recovery straightforward and easy.


In comparison, balloon sinuplasty is relatively new and is recommended for those 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 before guiding it to the blockage and inflating the balloon. This clears the passageway, allows the sinuses to properly drain and alleviates the patient's congestion.


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

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