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Asthma, Sinusitis: A Connection?

By Louis Neipris, MD, Staff Writer
9/21/2012 11:14:15 AM

Sinusitis and asthma can severely limit your ability to take a breath. And though they are found at different ends of the respiratory system (upper and lower), they may be linked. Sinus symptoms are very common in people with asthma. More than half the people with moderate to severe asthma also have chronic sinusitis.

Asthma

With asthma, there is airway inflammation (swelling) as well as blocked or narrow airways. This can lead to coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath or rapid breathing.

Allergic reactions can often set off asthma symptoms. Some of the most common allergens are:

-Dust mites
-Pet dander
-Pollen
-Mold

Other things that can worsen asthma symptoms in some people include:

-Anxiety
-Stress
-Exercise
-Cold air
-Dry air
-Hyperventilation
-Smoke
-Viruses
-Other irritants, such as strong odors or air pollution

Respiratory infections can also make asthma worse. Sinusitis, colds, and flu may increase symptoms. These symptoms can usually be reversed with medication.

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is sometimes called sinus infection or rhinosinusitis. In simple terms, it is sinus swelling. It is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, or an allergic reaction.

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