Sinus issues are one of the biggest medical complaints in Mechanicsburg. Not only do they cause physical misery for 37 million Americans every year; those who suffer have a higher chance of experiencing anxiety and depression, according to a Korean study.

Chronic Sinusitis & Depression

Sinusitis occurs when the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed. It is deemed chronic when symptoms persist for 12 weeks or longer. Patients with chronic rhinosinusitis in Mechanicsburg experience cold-like symptoms that include facial pain and pressure, nasal congestion, headaches, postnasal drip, and loss of smell. Additional symptoms range from ear pain and sore throat to nausea and fatigue. Because of its unrelenting nature, people diagnosed with chronic sinusitis often experience a lower quality of life and have problems with physical, social, emotional and cognitive functioning. A recent study of 16,224 patients in South Korea suggests that depression and anxiety are also common in chronic sinusitis sufferers.

The study looked at patients treated for chronic sinusitis between 2002 and 2013, alongside a comparison group of 32,448 people of similar demographic who did not suffer from sinus issues. None of the participants had a history of depression or anxiety. Researchers discovered that the patients with chronic sinusitis were over 50 percent more likely to develop depression or anxiety. Those with the worst symptoms were the most likely to experience mental health problems.

Another subset of participants – 5,461 patients – were dealing with nasal polyps, noncancerous growths in the nasal cavity that cause breathing difficulty. Compared to those without sinus issues, individuals with chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps were 41 percent more likely to suffer from depression and had a 45 percent higher chance of developing anxiety once their sinus issues were diagnosed. People suffering from both chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps were 61 percent more likely to experience depression and 63 percent more likely to suffer from anxiety, the study showed.

While the study doesn’t conclusively prove that chronic sinusitis causes anxiety and depression, it clearly warrants consideration in treating those with sinus issues. Dr. Edward McCoul, director of rhinology and sinus surgery at Oschner Clinic in New Orleans, posits that this might be the result of inflammation causing the release of neurotransmitters that affect brain function. Combined with genetics and other factors, this could cause psychiatric issues. “We don’t want to suggest . . . that if they don’t get their sinus infection treated then they’re going to go crazy,” McCoul is quick to point out. Still, early diagnosis and treatment are important in helping to stave off psychiatric problems down the road.

Feeling Deflated? Balloons Might Help!

Your Mechanicsburg ear, nose and throat doctor believes a non-invasive surgical procedure called Balloon Sinuplasty is one of the best ways of treating chronic sinusitis symptoms for many people. The surgery involves insertion of a catheter through the nasal passages. A small balloon is inflated in the nasal cavity, widening the passages and promoting fluid drainage. This helps clear up obstructions and leads to long-term relief for a significant portion of sinusitis sufferers. While the procedure sounds uncomfortable, it is nothing compared to the long-term misery experienced by many patients.

For more information on Balloon Sinuplasty, talk to your Mechanicsburg ENT doctor today.