Sinus Disease Condition Improves for Those Who Stop Smoking

A female doctor is checking a patients nose for sinus disease.

Don’t let smoking worsen your sinus disease.

Last week, we discussed how smoking leaves you at risk for sinusitis. The habit destroys the sinuses, making it more susceptible to sinus disease. Your overall health, especially your lungs are in danger. Chronic smokers deal with all sorts of diseases, and the longer they keep up the habit, the lower their life expectancy. It’s in a smoker’s best interest to quit. In a recent study, scientists are even saying that quitting will reduce your sinus disease symptoms over 10 years.

Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms

Millions of adults and children in the U.S. have chronic sinusitis, which is also known as chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). The disease is treatable but habits like smoking only decrease the success of any treatment. Symptoms are likely to continue. Smoking dries and damages the sinus walls, making sinusitis symptoms a common occurrence. Major symptoms of chronic sinusitis include the following:

  • Nasal Obstruction
  • Congestion
  • Headaches
  • Ear pain
  • Bad breath
  • Facial pain and pressure
  • Nausea
  • Sore Throat
  • Postnasal drainage

Smoking prevents mucus from clearing out of the nose. Smokers are also known to experience irritation in the sinuses, leading to inflammation and swelling. These symptoms make it difficult to breathe, making life harder for patients.

Leaving Smoking Behind to Get Rid of your Sinus Disease

The study led by the Sinus Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear is the first to look at the impact of smoking on patients with chronic sinusitis, as well as how long it takes to reverse the symptoms.

“Our study looked at clinically-meaningful metrics associated with CRS, measuring how bad symptoms are and how much medication was needed,” said senior author Ahmad R. Sedaghat, M.D., Ph.D., a sinus surgeon at Mass. Eye and Ear and assistant professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. “We very consistently saw that all of our metrics for the severity of CRS decreased to the levels of non-smoking CRS patients over about 10 years, with the severity of symptoms, medication usage, and quality-of-life improving steadily over that timeframe.”

Dr. Sedaghat and his team looked 103 former-smokers and 103 non-smokers with chronic sinusitis. The researchers measured the severity of their symptoms, as well as what medications the subjects used. With this data, the researchers were able to gain a better understanding of smoking’s impact. As they predicted, smokers had worse symptoms than those who smoked. Smokers even used more medications to try and combat these symptoms.

Positive Outlook for Future Patients

Looking towards the future, Dr. Sedaghat is optimistic. “If patients tell me that they are smoking, I now have direct evidence to say that the same symptoms that are making them miserable are exacerbated further by smoking,” Dr. Sedaghat said. “On the other hand, we can also be optimistic, because we have evidence to suggest that if you quit smoking, things will get better – on the order of 10 years.”

If you are a smoker and want to quit, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has several guides that can help you. These guidelines will help you know all the risk of smoking, as well as taking the right step to quitting without relapse.

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