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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Virginia doctor says people who suffer from chronic sinusitis are more likely to sleep poorly

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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.

Richmond Breathe Free Sinus & Allergy Centers' Dr. John Ditto elaborated on the dangers of chronic sinusitis in an interview with the Richmond Leader.

"Chronic sinusitis can affect the rest of your health in multiple ways. We know that there's some association with sleep apnea," Ditto said. "We know that if you have obstructive sleep apnea, that causes nasal obstruction, and that is combined together to cause obstructive sleep apnea."

According to the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 60 to 75% of chronic sinusitis patients also suffer from poor sleep, whereas only 8 to 18% of those who do not have chronic sinusitis experience sleep problems. Sleeping poorly is seen as a factor that causes both a lower quality of life and a higher risk of depression.

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

According to the American Heart Association, sleep apnea is more common in men and those who are overweight. Sleep apnea sufferers also face a higher risk of heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, liver problems and strokes. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

WebMD reports that there are several surgical treatment options 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 the patient's nose. One endoscope is fixed with a small camera lens, which sends images back to the doctor's computer monitor, 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, with no incisions made into the skin, allowing recovery to be fairly quick and easy.

Balloon sinuplasty, by comparison, is relatively new and a good option 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 so that the sinuses can drain properly and allow the congestion to be alleviated.

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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