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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Florida doctor says chronic sinus problems may lead to a lower quality of life

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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.

Gulf Coast Breathe Free Sinus & Allergy Centers' Dr. Matthew Blair warned of the decreased quality of life associated with chronic sinusitis in an interview with the Sunshine Sentinel.

"Nasal obstruction, chronic sinusitis or chronic allergies really affect one's quality of life," Blair said. "So if you can get your breathing, you can get your nose in tiptop shape, you're going to feel better and you'll want to do more things and you're going to overall improve your quality of health."

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that 60 to 75% of chronic sinusitis patients also experience poor sleep, while only 8 to 18% of those without chronic sinusitis experience the problem. Sleeping poorly is considered a factor leading to both a lower quality of life and a higher risk of depression.

Silent Night Therapy states that chronic sinusitis sufferers can experience high levels of congestion and coughing, making sleep much harder and increasing their risk of developing sleep apnea, a condition that causes those suffering from it to frequently awake from sleep gasping for air, experience headaches in the morning and feel fatigued during the day.

According to the American Heart Association, sleep apnea is primarily found in men and those who are overweight. Sleep apnea sufferers also have 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.

WebMD says that there are multiple surgical treatments available for chronic sinusitis sufferers, including endoscopy and balloon sinuplasty. Endoscopy is the more common of the two procedures and involves a doctor inserting thin flexible instruments called endoscopes into the patient's nose. One endoscope is equipped with a small camera lens that sends images to the doctor, allowing them to locate sinus blockages and guide the other endoscopes to gently remove polyps, scar tissue and other blockages. The procedure is minimally invasive and doesn't require any incisions into the skin, allowing recovery to be relatively easy and straightforward.

In comparison, balloon sinuplasty is a relatively new procedure and a good option for those who don't need anything removed from their sinuses. The doctor inserts a thin tube with a small balloon attached to one end into the patient's nose before guiding it to the blockage and inflating it. The balloon then clears the blocked passageway, draining the sinuses properly and alleviating 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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