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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Maryland doctor says people who suffer from chronic sinusitis may experience 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.

Dr. Jamie Oberman of Frederick Breathe Free Sinus & Allergy Centers discussed the effects of and treatments for chronic sinusitis in an interview with the Baltimore City Wire.

"[Sinusitis] certainly can be quite debilitating. The studies show that it certainly contributes to a loss of vitality, productivity and quality of life," Oberman said. "You don't have to live with it. There are solutions out there, many of which are very well-tolerated and minimally invasive and almost risk-free."

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 60 to 75% of chronic sinusitis patients also experience poor sleep, a number which decreases to 8 to 18% among those who do not have chronic sinusitis. Poor sleep is often a prime contributor to both a lower quality of life and a higher risk of depression.

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

According to the American Heart Association, men and people who are overweight are most likely to develop sleep apnea. Those who suffer from the condition also face a higher risk of developing heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, liver problems and stroke. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Fortunately, WebMD reports that there are options for treatments available for chronic sinusitis sufferers, including endoscopy and balloon sinuplasty. Endoscopy is a common procedure in which a doctor inserts a thin, flexible instrument called an endoscope into the patient's nose. One endoscope is fixed with a small camera lens, which feeds images to the doctor, allowing them to see where the sinuses are blocked 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 for a simple and easy recovery.

Balloon sinuplasty, on the other hand, is a relatively new procedure that is ideal for patients 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. The doctor then guides the balloon to the blockage and inflates it, clearing the passageway, allowing the sinuses to properly drain, 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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