Sinus infections and asthma are two conditions that are often misunderstood or confused with one another. At Sinus & Allergy Wellness Center in Scottsdale, AZ, we understand how important it is for you to know the facts about these health issues and to be informed on how they may impact your life. In today’s blog post, we’ll take a closer look at sinus infections and asthma and discuss whether there may be any connection between them so you can make sure that you’re getting the best care possible!
Upper respiratory issues such as Sinusitis and Asthma can have overlapping causes.
What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an inflammation of your sinuses, which are air-filled cavities located in the bones around your nose and eyes. Sinuses help to filter and moisten the air you breathe in. Inflammation of the sinuses can cause blockages, preventing proper drainage and leading to an accumulation of mucus. This can result in symptoms such as nasal congestion, pain and pressure in the face, headache, and sometimes fever.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes the airways to narrow, making it difficult to breathe that affects more than 26 million people in the U.S. alone. During an asthma attack, the muscles around the airways tighten, and the lining of the airways becomes swollen and inflamed. This can cause wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. Asthma attacks can be triggered by a variety of factors, including allergies, exercise, and respiratory infections.
How Are Sinusitis and Asthma Connected?
Research has shown that there is a strong link between sinusitis and asthma. Studies have found that people with sinusitis are more likely to have asthma, and people with asthma are more likely to have sinusitis. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 50% of people with asthma also have sinusitis.
The exact mechanism for this link is not fully understood, but it is thought to involve inflammation. Inflammation in the sinuses can spread to the lower airways and lungs, making them more susceptible to inflammation and asthma attacks. Additionally, mucus production in the sinuses can lead to mucus production in the airways, making it harder to breathe.
How Are Sinusitis and Asthma Diagnosed?
When it comes to diagnosing sinusitis and asthma, doctors rely on a combination of factors to make an accurate diagnosis. For sinusitis, doctors will typically perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms, such as congestion, facial pain, and headaches. They may also use imaging tests, such as a CT scan, to get a better look at your sinuses. Similarly, diagnosing asthma involves a physical exam and an assessment of your symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Additionally, doctors may perform breathing tests, such as spirometry, to measure the amount of air you inhale and exhale. While diagnosing sinusitis and asthma can be complex, working closely with your doctor to better understand your symptoms is key to receiving the proper treatment for your condition.
How Are Sinusitis and Asthma Treated?
Sinusitis and asthma can be treated with various medications depending on their severity. For sinusitis, nasal irrigation and corticosteroids delivered through a nasal spray, orally, or through injection are the initial therapy. Corticosteroids are used in the short-term to drastically reduce inflammation. Antibiotics might be necessary if a bacterial infection develops. In addition, decongestants and nasal sprays can be used to relieve the symptoms of congestion and swelling.
Some patients may want to consider a balloon sinuplasty using the OPEN Procedure™. Performed in the office under local anesthesia, balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive technique that involves the use of a nasal endoscope with an attached camera and a medical-grade balloon. Pressure from the inflated balloon helps to gently reform the shape of the opening, leading to lasting results that remain even after the balloon is taken out. Normal sinus drainage is then brought back to normal, causing your chronic sinusitis to disappear.
For asthma, inhalers are often the first line of treatment. Inhalers contain medication that helps to relax the muscles in the airways, making it easier to breathe. In severe cases, oral medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation in the airways.
Does Postnasal Drip Provoke Asthma?
Postnasal drip occurs when excess mucus accumulates in the back of the nose and throat, leading to a feeling of congestion or a runny nose. Postnasal drip can also worsen asthma symptoms in some people. The excess mucus can irritate the airways, causing inflammation and triggering an asthma attack. To prevent postnasal drip from provoking asthma, it is important to maintain good nasal hygiene and avoid triggers that can exacerbate both conditions.
How Can You Prevent Sinusitis?
Sinusitis can be an incredibly uncomfortable and painful condition. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help prevent it from occurring. One of the most important things you can do is to practice good hygiene. Regularly washing your hands can help reduce your risk of developing a sinus infection. You should also try to avoid contact with people who are sick, as this will decrease your likelihood of catching any potential viruses or bacteria that could lead to sinusitis. Additionally, keeping your nasal passages moist can help prevent a sinus infection. This can be achieved through the use of a humidifier or nasal spray. Overall, taking these simple steps can go a long way towards keeping your sinuses clear and healthy.
Other Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Sinusitis and Asthma
If you suffer from sinusitis or asthma, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing both conditions. These include:
Avoiding triggers: Both sinusitis and asthma can be triggered by allergens, pollutants, and irritants. By identifying and avoiding your triggers, you can reduce your risk of developing symptoms.
Managing allergies: Allergies can exacerbate both sinusitis and asthma symptoms. Work with your doctor to identify your allergies and develop a plan to manage them.
Seeking treatment: If you are experiencing symptoms of sinusitis or asthma, seek treatment early. Treating these conditions promptly can help prevent complications and minimize the impact on your quality of life.
Partner with the Professionals at Sinus and Allergy Wellness Center in Scottsdale, AZ!
By understanding the relationship between sinus infections and asthma and taking steps to prevent and treat both conditions, you can improve your overall health and wellbeing. If you are experiencing symptoms of sinusitis or asthma, it is important to seek medical attention to receive proper diagnosis and treatment. At Sinus and Allergy Wellness Center in Scottsdale, AZ, we specialize in diagnosing and treating sinusitis, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start breathing easier.
We take pride in offering quality, state-of-the-art treatment solutions for sinus and nasal problems, allergy testing and treatment, ear infections, snoring, and sleep apnea, and are staffed by qualified ENT providers.