ENT Center of Austin - Doctor's Blog

Sometimes Nasal Congestion Can Be More That Simple Blockage

While it's old news, those kids with nasal congestion may be predisposed to a very serious problem.

chronic sinusitis

Cystic Fibrosis.

What is cystic fibrosis? According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:

"Cystic fibrosis (SIS-tik fi-BRO-sis), or CF, is an inherited disease of the secretion glands. Secretory glands include glands that make mucus and sweat."

"Inherited" means the disease is passed from parents to children through genes. People who have CF inherit two faulty genes for the disease—one from each parent. The parents likely don't have the disease themselves."

"CF mainly affects the lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinuses, and sex organs."

But wait, nasal congestion can be a barometer of other bad things to come.

A Barometer of Things to Come

We've known this for well over 50-years, but it's best explained in a report from the online periodical "Science Daily."

"Scientists at Johns Hopkins report that some people who suffer with repeated sinus infections may be predisposed to them in part because they carry the same genetic mutation responsible for cystic fibrosis (CF)."

"An estimated 30-million Americans have chronic sinus disease, accounting for billions of dollars spent yearly on lost work days, doctor visits and remedies."

"In a study published in the October, 2000 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers found that 7 percent of 147 patients who recently visited Hopkins because of repeated bouts of sinusitis carried a copy of the mutated gene responsible for CF, called CFTR. The scientists predict that risk of chronic sinusitis will likely double if you're a CF gene carrier."

"We want to be clear that these patients don't have cystic fibrosis," says geneticist Garry R. Cutting, M.D., of the research team. Cystic fibrosis results from a double dose of the mutant CFTR gene-- both parents must contribute a copy of this recessive gene for CF to result. "But we've long wondered if having just one mutant CFTR gene has any health effects," says Cutting."

More Facts

While chronic sinusitis could be a flashing warning light of the possibility of having the gene which causes this debilitating disease, science holds out a hand of hope to those with the thing leading to CF.

"Very little is known about why chronic sinus infections occur, the researchers say. "Knowing which genes are involved tells us how to approach underlying biology and may suggest smarter ways to deal with disease," says Cutting. "For example, patients with a sinus infection typically take agents like Sudafed, which have a drying effect. But in a respiratory infection," he says, "cells lining the sinuses are forced to produce more fluid. In patients carrying a mutant CFTR gene, this may severely tax cells where water output is already below par, perhaps increasing susceptibility to infection. This could mean, for people carrying mutant forms of CFTR, that using such drugs or taking their sinuses to Arizona might not be the best idea." The researchers will extend their work to see if the sinuses of carrier patients respond differently from others to stresses such as cold viruses or cold air. "This could point the way to drug trials and potentially, to new, targeted ways to treat sinus infections," Cutting says."

Treat It Early

If your child is diagnosed early with CF, a no-holds barred regimen can dramatically improve both survival and quality of life. Here are the latest treatments available:

  • Get a flu vaccine and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) every year.
  • Take a high concentration of salt solutions like hypertonic saline.
  • Use inhaled medicines which will open the airways.
  • If it gets worse, oxygen therapy may be needed.
  • Take doctor recommended antibiotics to treat and prevent sinus and lung matters.
  • Start to use a DNA-based enzyme therapy that will thin the accumulating mucus and make it easier to cough up.
  • In severe cases, a lung transplant may be an option.

That's why when your child or you suffer from chronic sinus issues, don't think it will just "go away." Book an appointment with ENT Center of Austin so we can give you the best treatment and diagnosis available.

Original Source: http://austinentmd.com

Image Source: southcoastspecialtycenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/chronic_sinusitis.jpg

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