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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

D.C. doctor says people who suffer from chronic sinusitis 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.

Dr. Manish Khanna of Capitol Breathe Free Sinus & Allergy Centers stressed the importance of treating inflammation of the nasal passages in an interview with Montgomery News.

"Inflammation of our nasal passages certainly can affect our quality of sleep," Khanna said. "We know the nose plays a role in snoring and sleep apnea, so when we're dealing with inflamed sinuses, getting into that deeper realm of sleep, it can prevent that from happening. If you're tossing and turning, if you're clearing your throat a lot, and then your alarm clock rings at four o'clock to get ready for work and you just haven't gotten into REM sleep, you've been dealing with these annoying symptoms that are triggered by the sinus inflammation. It has a negative impact on sleep when you're talking about acute and chronic sinusitis."

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 60 to 75% of chronic sinusitis patients also experience poor sleep. In comparison, only 8 to 18% of those who do not have chronic sinusitis experience this issue. Poor sleep is also a leading contributor to both a lower quality of life and a higher risk of depression.

Silent Night Therapy says that chronic sinusitis sufferers often experience high levels of congestion and coughing, which makes breathing while sleeping far more difficult and increases the likelihood of developing sleep apnea. Those who have sleep apnea may frequently wake up at night gasping for air, suffer from headaches and feel fatigued during the day.

The American Heart Association reports that sleep apnea is more common in men and overweight people. Those who suffer from the condition are also at a higher risk of developing heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, liver problems and stroke. Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the U.S.

Fortunately, according to WebMD, there are multiple surgical treatments 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 sends images to the doctor, allowing them to locate sinus blockages and direct other endoscopes to gently remove said blockages, including polyps and scar tissue. The procedure is minimally invasive and features no incisions into the skin, making recovery quick and simple.

Balloon sinuplasty, in comparison, is a relatively new procedure that is ideal for those who don't need anything removed from their sinuses. For this procedure, the doctor inserts a thin tube with a small balloon attached to one end into a patient's nose. The doctor then guides the balloon to the blockage and inflates it, clearing the passageway. This allows the sinuses to properly drain and alleviates the patient's congestion, allowing them to breathe better.

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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