A new, anonymous survey was conducted jointly by the Entellus Medical firm and SinusSurgeryOptions.com that determined that sinusitis can have a significant negative impact on quality of life.
Sinusitis refers to the inflammation of the nasal passages. This condition is usually caused by an infection, but it can also be the result of allergies, autoimmune disorders, or irritants such as fumes or smoke. Symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, sore throat, and halitosis. Over 37 million Americans are affected by sinusitis each year.
The survey sampled over 520 people from the ages of 25 to 90 regarding the secondary effects of their chronic sinusitis. Over 34% of respondents indicated that their sinusitis had significantly affected their work activities and performance for the worse, often leading to missed days from illness.
What’s more, 33% of those surveyed also stated that they had spent between $250 and $1,000 annually in the form of over-the-counter remedies, doctor’s fees, and copays attempting to rid their condition and painful symptoms.
35% of respondents also replied that home and leisure activities had also been brought down, including 18% who claimed that it caused a decline in their personal relationships. A surprising 36% complained that their sex life had also suffered as a result of their sinusitis.
Clearly, sinusitis is not a condition to be taken lightly, as it can lead to a cascade of harmful effects not only to health, but also to everyday activities.
While the most common medical treatment of sinusitis is antibiotics, a large portion of infections causing sinusitis are actually viral, not bacterial. Furthermore, bodily conditions such as poor mucus drainage or repeated exposure to irritants can lead to nasal passages that are more prone to infection.
Sinusitis can also lead to more severe conditions, such as infection of the eye socket or inner ear.
In lieu of expensive and invasive surgery, one of the conductors of the survey has been propagating the use a balloon dilation procedure to promote proper drainage and relieve the pressure associated with sinusitis. The procedure can also be conducted within the regular offices of a Ear Nose and Throat doctor, saving time and money for both the patient and the hospital system.
The dilation procedure has been found to be much more effective than most over-the-counter remedies, and just as effective at preventing subsequent infections as surgery but with less cost and faster recovery times.
Inquiring about this simple procedure can mean the difference between cheap, effective relief and the severe decline in quality of life as professed by chronic sufferers of sinusitis.
Other possible sources of relief are the encouragement of immune-boosting activities such as proper diet and exercise. Removal of irritating or drying substances such as cigarette smoke can also lessen the likelihood of contracting sinusitis.
By Ramie A Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT