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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. Anthony Sanders of Indianapolis Sinus Center elaborated on the effects of chronic sinusitis in an interview with Indy Standard.
"Mouth breathing is not good. It can affect sleep quality," Sanders said. "For instance, you're probably more likely to have sleep apnea, which is a major problem in its own right. But I think the major thing is that these symptoms, some people have had them so long, they are almost considered normal. But I think the real point is, you don't have to live with that anymore, and the solutions for it have gotten so much more acceptable than what they were once upon a time."
The National Institutes of Health's National Center for Biotechnology Information states that 60 to 75% of chronic sinusitis sufferers also experience poor sleep, while only 8 to 18% of those who don't suffer from chronic sinusitis experience sleep problems. Poor sleep is also a prime contributor to both a lower quality of life and a higher risk for depression.
Silent Night Therapy says that chronic sinusitis patients also experience high levels of congestion and coughing, which makes breathing while sleeping harder and increases the likelihood that the patient develops sleep apnea. Those with the condition may frequently wake up at night gasping for air, suffer from headaches, and feel fatigued during the day.
According to the American Heart Association, sleep apnea is most frequently found in men and people who are overweight. Those who experience the condition are also more likely to develop heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, liver problems and stroke. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
WebMD reports that there are multiple surgical procedures available for chronic sinusitis sufferers, such as endoscopy and balloon sinuplasty. Endoscopy is a common procedure in which a doctor inserts a thin, flexible instrument called an endoscope into a patient's nose. One endoscope is fixed with a small camera lens, which sends photos to the doctor, allowing them to locate sinus blockages and direct other endoscopes to remove materials such as polyps and scar tissue. The procedure is minimally invasive and features no skin incisions, making recovery simple and straightforward.
In comparison, balloon sinuplasty is a relatively new procedure that is recommended for those who don't need anything removed from their sinuses. For this procedure, the doctor inserts a tube into a patient's nose. The doctor guides the tube, which has a balloon attached to one end, towards the blockage before 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 the diagnosis or treatment of chronic sinusitis, please take this Sinus Self-Assessment Quiz.