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Asthma induced sinusitis and sinobronchial syndrome

Sinusitis is a painful condition where the sinuses behind the cheeks and forehead get blocked. Many people get this after a cold, but for people with asthma, this can also be a common condition.

Allergies are one of the triggers for sinusitis. The organisation for ear, nose and throat specialists, ENT UK, says chronic sinusitis is sometimes associated with asthma.

Research suggests as many as half of all people with moderate to severe asthma also have chronic sinusitis.

There are lots of treatments available for both sinus infections and asthma. Studies show that treating one condition often helps relieve symptoms of the other. The key is to treat both conditions appropriately.

What's the connection between sinusitis and asthma?

Many studies show a connection between sinus infections and asthma. One 2006 study showed that, when compared with those who only have asthma, people who have both sinusitis and asthma:

  • Tend to have more severe asthma symptoms
  • May have more severe asthma flare-ups
  • Are more likely to have disturbed sleep

The risks of developing sinusitis may not be the same for everyone with asthma. The same 2006 study showed that sinusitis coupled with asthma was more common in women than men. It also may be more common in white people than other racial groups. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease ( GORD) and smoking may increase the risk of someone with asthma developing sinusitis, too.

The study also suggested that the more severe a person's asthma is, the more debilitating the sinusitis. In people with severe asthma, sinusitis seems to make the asthma symptoms harder to control.

How are sinusitis and asthma treated?

Treatment is important in preventing sinusitis from worsening. Again, since the conditions are linked, treating sinusitis may have the added benefit of improving your asthma symptoms.

If you have sinusitis and asthma, your doctor might recommend that you use:

  • Steroid nasal sprays to reduce the swelling. Easing the inflammation might allow the sinuses to drain normally
  • Decongestant or antihistamine medication
  • Painkillers, if necessary, to reduce discomfort

Always ask your doctor before using nasal spray decongestants. Sometimes, they can leave you more stuffed up. You might try spraying salt water into the nose or breathing in steam.

If a secondary bacterial infection develops in your sinuses, you may need antibiotics. Antibiotics will only work in cases of bacterial infection. They will not help with viruses.

For people with allergies, controlling exposure to allergens is key. Not only will it reduce your asthma symptoms, it will also reduce your risk of sinus infections. Avoid any allergic triggers and irritants, like cigarette smoke. You can also ask your doctor if immunotherapy treatment might be helpful.

In some cases, more involved treatments are necessary. Physical problems in the nasal passages can lead to chronic sinusitis. These include narrow nasal passages, a deviated septum, or polyps - small lumps in the nose. Surgically correcting these problems can sometimes resolve the problem.

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