Instances of allergies, medical conditions like chronic sinusitis and asthma are increasing at an alarming rate. The cause of this is as yet unknown, but regardless of the reason for the heightened prevalence of these conditions, sinus surgery may soon join immunotherapy and early management of inflammation and infection as a viable means of treating allergy and sinus problems. Up until now, surgery has been a last resort. Soon, doctors may recommend it much earlier.
The Cleanliness Hypothesis
Some research points to our obsession with cleanliness and fear of germs may be somewhat responsible for a higher instance of asthma and sinusitis, especially among young people. Allergies can develop from a weakened immune system when a child is not exposed to germs from a young age. These allergies can then result in conditions like asthma and chronic sinusitis. Currently this idea is a hypothesis, but it is one that is being looked at more closely and may be studied and tested intensely in the coming years.
Asthma and Allergies
What is known is that people who have serious allergies are at a heightened risk for sinusitis and asthma. When allergies, asthma and sinus inflammation combine, it creates a perfect storm for serious airway issues. In many cases where sinusitis combines with asthma and allergies, it may not be possible for conventional treatment to work, and surgery may be necessary.
In some cases, earlier efforts to manage allergy and inflammation of the sinuses can reduce the asthma risks. Immunotherapy using sublingual drops or tablets, or the more traditional allergy shots, can potentially reduce development of asthma later.
Surgery as a Preventative Measure
In some cases, sinus surgery can be a vital preventative measure for some. A recent study presented at the spring meeting of the American Rhinologic Society demonstrated that early surgical treatment which was performed less than two years following a diagnosis of sinusitis could result in a lower incidence of long-term asthma than those who had surgery later on. This research and study was conducted using a patient database of sixty million subjects, and involved those patients who had sinus surgery as a result of other treatments failing.
Sinuses and Lung Function
The sinuses are connected to the cardiovascular system, and particularly to the lungs. This means that anything which causes the sinuses to be inflamed, can also cause inflammation in the lungs. This is particularly true of allergies. Those who have both allergies and chronic sinusitis can help their lung function by keeping sinus infection under control, and keeping asthma under control can in turn aid the sinuses.
What this means is aggressive treatment with immunotherapy for allergies or surgery for sinusitis can keep a developing disease like asthma at bay. These findings are still preliminary and more research needs to be done, but it appears a shift may occur in the future. If you have allergies, sinusitis or asthma, check out our informational pages and give us a call for a consulation today!