Quit smoking sinus infection

A Message from your Sinuses: Please Quit Smoking

“You need to quit smoking!” If you’re a smoker, you’re probably sick of hearing people tell you that – but what if the message was coming from you, and more specifically your sinuses? If you’re a smoker and have sinus problems, cigarettes may be the culprit. Here are a few reasons why your sinuses could use a break from the smoke.

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your lungs and throat, and studies have linked smoking to various forms of cancer. Your sinuses however, also receive significant damage from smoke.

Cilia are miniscule hair-like formations that protect the nasal cavity and sinus region, very similar to the lining of your lungs, and the damage done to the cilia in your sinuses by smoking is comparable, thus sinus cancer is a legitimate possibility for smokers.

Cilia simply quit working when exposed to smoke – the reason many smokers experience respiratory problems and also sinus issues. These cilia are responsible for protecting your respiratory system from invaders.

The human body naturally produces about 64oz of mucus each day. In general, you end up swallowing it without even noticing – but when the cilia are damaged the mucus backs up into the sinus cavity, giving the bacteria time to sit there and multiply. The result is often a sinus infection.

Some smokers may end up having surgery on their sinuses to treat these issues. Ear, nose and throat doctors have noticed that the outcomes from surgery for patients who smoke are not as positive as the benefits received by non-smokers.

An additional negative effect of smoking on the nose is that it dulls your sense of smell, and since this makes up a great deal of our sense of taste, food can also begin to taste differently. In fact, after quitting smoking you will likely enjoy food much more.

For parents especially, second-hand smoke should be a concern – your children can suffer frequent sinus or ear infections from passive inhalation of smoke. If anyone in your household is experiencing these effects, you should consider the possibility that the condition is being caused or worsened by cigarette smoke.

You hear it all the time – but this time the plea to break free of the smoking habit is coming from your sinuses, and those of your loved ones.

Common Problems with Quitting

You can expect to have some sort of withdrawal symptoms while you are quitting

It is actually a good sign that your body is ridding itself of all the nicotine and other harmful chemicals.

These symptoms usually do not last long. Although symptoms vary from person to person, the most common symptoms are listed below.

Weight Gain

Often people look at weight gain as a deterrent to quitting and a reason to start up again. Some people do gain weight when they quit, but the average gain is only 5 pounds. And remember, it is healthier to have a few extra pounds than to use tobacco. If you are concerned about weight gain, here are a few points to consider:

  • Since your body does not have to deal with all the toxins that are in cigarettes, your metabolism slows down a little and you may gain a little weight.
  • Review your diet and make changes if needed. Look for low-fat or fat-free types of milk, yogurt, and cheese. Avoid fried foods, and be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise. Even walking just 10 minutes a day can help prevent you from adding extra pounds.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Take smaller portions.
  • If you feel like a snack, choose a healthy one like carrots or a piece of fruit.

Withdrawal Symptoms, Causes and Relief

Symptom Cause Duration Relief
Irritability
Headaches
Craving for nicotine 2-4 weeks Walks; hot baths; relaxation techniques; nicotine replacement therapy.
Fatigue Nicotine is a stimulant 2-4 weeks Take naps; do not push yourself; nicotine replacement therapy.
Insomnia,
Trouble Sleeping
Nicotine affects brain wave function, influences sleep patterns 1 week Avoid coffee, tea, or soda with caffeine after 6pm; relaxation and meditation techniques.
Cough,
Dry or Sore Throat,
Nasal Drip
Body getting rid of mucus which has blocked airways and restricted breathing A few days Drink plenty of fluids; try cough drops or candy; chew gum.
Dizziness Body is getting extra oxygen 1-2 days Use extra caution; change position slowly.
Lack of
Concentration
Body needs time to adjust to not having constant stimulation from nicotine A few weeks Plan workload accordingly; avoid additional stress during first few weeks.
Tightness in Chest Probably due to tension created by body’s need for nicotine; may be caused by sore muscles from coughing A few days Relaxation and meditation techniques
Constipation, Gas,
Irregularity, Stomach Pain
Intestinal movement decreases for a brief period 1-2 weeks Drink plenty of fluids; add roughage: fruits, vegetables, and whole grain cereals.
Hunger Craving a cigarette can be confused with hunger pang; oral craving, desire for something in mouth Up to several weeks Drink water or low calorie liquids; be prepared with low calorie snacks.
Craving for a Cigarette Withdrawal from nicotine Most frequent first 2-3 days; can happen occasionally for months or years Wait out the urge. Cravings last only a few minutes. Distract yourself. Exercise; go for a walk.

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Study: Sinus damage from smoking reverses within a decade after quitting

THURSDAY, July 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Smoking can wreak havoc on your sinuses, but new research shows symptoms reverse within 10 years after quitting the bad habit.

Researchers believe the findings may provide new motivation for smokers to stop smoking.

“If patients tell me that they are smoking, I now have direct evidence to say that the same symptoms that are making them miserable are exacerbated further by smoking,” said senior study author Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, a sinus surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

“On the other hand, we can also be optimistic, because we have evidence to suggest that if you quit smoking, things will get better — on the order of 10 years,” he added in a hospital news release. Sedaghat is also an assistant professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School.

Chronic rhinosinusitis, or CRS, leads to facial pain, poor sleep and trouble breathing due to blocked nasal and sinus passages, according to researchers. Smoking can leave the lining of the nose less able to clear mucus. It can also irritate sinus passages, causing swelling and inflammation as well as changes in the healthy mix of bacteria inside the nose.

Researchers assessed the severity of symptoms and medication use among 103 former smokers with CRS and 103 people who had never smoked but also had CRS.

They found smokers had worse symptoms and used more antibiotics and oral corticosteroids to treat sinus infections and reduce inflammation than nonsmokers.

But the study, published online July 12 in Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, also found that symptoms among former smokers improved steadily over a decade.

“We very consistently saw that all of our metrics for the severity of CRS decreased to the levels of nonsmoking CRS patients over about 10 years, with the severity of symptoms, medication usage and quality-of-life improving steadily over that timeframe,” said Sedaghat.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on the benefits of not smoking.

It Takes 10 Years for Your Sinuses to Recover From Smoking

Smoking is bad for your health. But people still do it, sometimes because it’s so hard to stop. But for anyone looking to quit with the coffin nails, a new study offers one more reason: Smokers with chronic sinus disease see their condition improve after they quit. The only downside? It takes about ten years to make a full recovery.

Researchers at the Sinus Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear looked at 103 former smokers and 103 non-smokers who had chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). CRS, a common condition, starts with inflammation and swelling of the sinus linings, which interferes with drainage and causes mucus buildup. Those who have it often report difficulty breathing and sleeping, with pain and a swollen feeling around the eyes and face.

Previous studies have shown that smoking harms the sinuses by changing the lining of the nose, inhibiting their ability to clear mucus. It also irritates the nasal lining, adding to swelling and inflammation; it may also change the balance of microorganisms inside the nose. In short, if you have CRS, smoking exacerbates all your problems.

Not surprisingly, then, researchers found that smokers with CRS showed overall worse symptoms than their non-smoking counterparts. They also reported using more antibiotics and oral corticosteroids (which help reduce inflammation in the sinuses).

So far, expected results. But researchers also noticed that every year without smoking was associated with improved symptoms and less need for medication. Researchers estimate that over a decade, former smokers could see the harmful effects of smoking on CRS completely reversed.

“If patients tell me that they are smoking, I now have direct evidence to say that the same symptoms that are making them miserable are exacerbated further by smoking,” Ahmad R. Sedaghat, a sinus surgeon and the study’s senior author, said in a statement. “On the other hand, we can also be optimistic, because we have evidence to suggest that if you quit smoking, things will get better—on the order of 10 years.” In other words, it’s never too late to quit.

Read This Next: We Asked Young People Why They Still Smoke

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Smoking is known to be especially harmful on your respiratory system, and has been linked to numerous types of cancer. But did you know that it can wreak havoc on your sinuses, too?

A recent study led by the Sinus Center at Mass. Eye and Ear quantified the detrimental effects of smoking on the sinuses, measuring severity of symptoms and quality-of-life impact. They also found a silver lining — on average, these detrimental effects resolve about ten years after breaking the habit.

Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, senior author on the study and a sinus surgeon at Mass. Eye and Ear, says that many of his patients who smoke complain of sinus issues.

He tells his patients: “It’s making those symptoms, the same symptoms that are making you miserable, worse.”

But how does smoking affect your sinuses?

#1: Smoking changes the lining of your nasal passages.

The nasal passages are lined with hair-like cells called cilia, which move back and forth. They work with mucus to prevent infection by trapping foreign particles and then “sweeping” them away, expelling the potential infection out of the body.

The chemicals used in cigarettes, like hydrogen cyanide and ammonia, are toxic to cilia and impair movement. Without movement, there’s a buildup of mucus in the nasal passages.

#2: Smoking increases the risk of infection.

The sinuses are the body’s first line of defense against foreign particles. When exposed to irritants like pollen or moderate amounts of smoke, the cilia and mucus in the nasal passages can do their jobs, and clear the passages effectively. But high volumes of smoke can impair the body’s ability to sweep away harmful bacteria and viruses, essentially opening a door of pathogens to enter the body.

Smokers tend to get sick more often and more easily than non-smokers because of an impaired immune system. Despite being relatively healthy, many young smokers are at risk for developing pneumonia.

#3: Smokers experience chronic facial pain and headaches

As a symptom of chronic sinusitis, facial pain is common among smokers. Without the movement of the cilia, nasal passages may become blocked. This causes inflammation and pain felt from the cheekbones, to the nose bridge, to under the eyes. The pain may even manifest as pressure on the upper rear teeth, which are near the sinuses.

#4: Smokers have difficulty sleeping through the night

The paralyzing effects that cigarette smoke has on nasal cilia also affect the cilia in the passages leading to the lungs. Without the cilia moving irritants along, people who smoke may feel congested, and wake up coughing because of the mucus buildup.

Smokers are also at risk of developing sleep apnea. A 2011 study found that smokers are 2.5 times more likely to have sleep apnea because cigarette smoke induces swelling that restricts air flow.

Sinus disease symptoms improve 10 years after patients quit smoking

Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat examines a patient. Credit: Garyfallia Pagonis for Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) who quit smoking will see their condition improve over a period of about 10 years, according to the results of a new study led by the Sinus Center at Mass. Eye and Ear. The study, published online today in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, is not only the first to quantify the severity of symptoms and quality-of-life impact of smoking on CRS patients, but also estimates the timeline of reversal of the smoking effects on the sinuses after cessation for the first time. The findings may provide better motivation for patients suffering from chronic sinus disease to break the habit.

“Our study looked at clinically-meaningful metrics associated with CRS, measuring how bad symptoms are and how much medication was needed,” said senior author Ahmad R. Sedaghat, M.D., Ph.D., a sinus surgeon at Mass. Eye and Ear and assistant professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. “We very consistently saw that all of our metrics for the severity of CRS decreased to the levels of nonsmoking CRS patients over about 10 years, with the severity of symptoms, medication usage and quality-of-life improving steadily over that timeframe.”

One of the more prevalent chronic illnesses in the United States, CRS has been known to cause significant quality-of-life detriments to affected patients, who often cannot breathe or sleep easily due to obstructed nasal and sinus passages.

Previous studies have shown that smoking is harmful to the sinuses. It changes the lining of the nose, making the sinuses unable to clear mucus as well as that of a nonsmoker. It also serves as an irritant contributing to swelling and inflammation, and there is evidence that the healthy bacterial microbiome inside the nose changes with smoking as well.

With the goal of better understanding how smoking exacerbates clinical symptoms and impacts quality-of-life in CRS patients—such as difficulty breathing through the nose, disturbances of sleep, ear and facial pain and emotional function—the researchers measured symptom severity and medication usage over time in 103 former-smoker and 103 non-smoker CRS patients. Compared to non-smokers, smokers expressed overall worse symptoms on every measure and reported using more CRS-related antibiotics and oral corticosteroids (used to reduce inflammation in sinus disease).

On a positive note, in former smokers, the researchers noted that every year without smoking was associated with a statistically significant improvement in symptoms and reduced medication usage. Based on the differences in study outcome measures between former smokers and non-smokers, the researchers estimate that the reversible impacts of smoking on CRS may resolve after 10 years.

The researchers believe that the data will be helpful in counseling sinus disease patients not to smoke, and may provide better motivation for quitting.

“If patients tell me that they are smoking, I now have direct evidence to say that the same symptoms that are making them miserable are exacerbated further by smoking,” Dr. Sedaghat said. “On the other hand, we can also be optimistic, because we have evidence to suggest that if you quit smoking, things will get better—on the order of 10 years.”

Explore further

Patients with depression symptoms due to chronic sinus disease are less productive More information: Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, DOI: 10.1177/0194599817717960 Provided by Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Citation: Sinus disease symptoms improve 10 years after patients quit smoking (2017, July 12) retrieved 2 February 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-07-sinus-disease-symptoms-years-patients.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

“Our study looked at clinically-meaningful metrics associated with CRS, measuring how bad symptoms are and how much medication was needed,” said senior author Ahmad R. Sedaghat, M.D., Ph.D., a sinus surgeon at Mass. Eye and Ear and assistant professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School. “We very consistently saw that all of our metrics for the severity of CRS decreased to the levels of nonsmoking CRS patients over about 10 years, with the severity of symptoms, medication usage and quality-of-life improving steadily over that timeframe.”

One of the more prevalent chronic illnesses in the United States, CRS has been known to cause significant quality-of-life detriments to affected patients, who often cannot breathe or sleep easily due to obstructed nasal and sinus passages.

Previous studies have shown that smoking is harmful to the sinuses. It changes the lining of the nose, making the sinuses unable to clear mucus as well as that of a nonsmoker. It also serves as an irritant contributing to swelling and inflammation, and there is evidence that the healthy bacterial microbiome inside the nose changes with smoking as well.

With the goal of better understanding how smoking exacerbates clinical symptoms and impacts quality-of-life in CRS patients — such as difficulty breathing through the nose, disturbances of sleep, ear and facial pain and emotional function — the researchers measured symptom severity and medication usage over time in 103 former-smoker and 103 non-smoker CRS patients. Compared to non-smokers, smokers expressed overall worse symptoms on every measure and reported using more CRS-related antibiotics and oral corticosteroids (used to reduce inflammation in sinus disease).

On a positive note, in former smokers, the researchers noted that every year without smoking was associated with a statistically significant improvement in symptoms and reduced medication usage. Based on the differences in study outcome measures between former smokers and non-smokers, the researchers estimate that the reversible impacts of smoking on CRS may resolve after 10 years.

The researchers believe that the data will be helpful in counseling sinus disease patients not to smoke, and may provide better motivation for quitting.

“If patients tell me that they are smoking, I now have direct evidence to say that the same symptoms that are making them miserable are exacerbated further by smoking,” Dr. Sedaghat said. “On the other hand, we can also be optimistic, because we have evidence to suggest that if you quit smoking, things will get better — on the order of 10 years.”

You don’t need us to tell you that smoking is bad for you; you know all about the risks it poses for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Then there are the other terrible things such as odor, inconvenience and of course, the cost that accompany the habit. And while you may have suspected, tobacco smoke is also damaging to your sinuses, and in this blog we’re going to talk about just that.

That’s Irritating

If you’ve ever been around cigarette smoke, especially if you’re not the one smoking, you know that it can irritate your nose. For everyone, smoke has a very real physical adverse effect on the mucus membranes that line your nasal passages. Since it is a harmful allergen, the mucus membranes go into overdrive to produce extra mucus and swell, which causes congestion and runny nose. In addition, the membranes are sensitive and smoke is abrasive, further leading to irritation.

Smoke and Your Cilia

Cilia are the tiny hair-like structures in your nose that move back and forth, working as a filter for your nasal passages. When the cilia are healthy, they work to push the protective mucus smoothly down the back of your throat. This may sound uncomfortable, but it is constantly happening and you don’t even realize it. The cilia also work to trap harmful toxins that come in from your nose before they reach your lungs and other important organs.

However, smoking causes serious damage to the cilia, beginning with paralyzing them and ultimately shortening them so that they are completely ineffective. When this occurs, mucus builds up and so do all the harmful substances, such as bacteria, that it was designed to flush out. In turn, this build up leads to chronic sinusitis and other respiratory illnesses.

Treating Sinusitis after Smoking

If you want to eliminate the adverse effects that smoking has on your sinuses, then you have to quit smoking, because even if your symptoms go away, smoking will cause them to return again and again and become much more difficult to treat. That said, we know quitting isn’t that easy. But you can do it, and there are smoking cessation programs out there that can help. Then when it comes to treating the sinus issues that are left behind, CT Sinus Center is here.

When you come in, we’ll discuss your symptoms and medical history before doing anything else. Next, we’ll perform a thorough series of tests to see how much damage smoking has done and how we can treat it. The great news is that once you quit, your cilia can return to normal functioning and your nasal passage irritation will be alleviated (which you are not around smoke). Once we have the results, we’ll work with you to find a sinus solution that fits your lifestyle. You may even be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty, a non-invasive, in-house procedure done with local anesthesia, that can put a permanent end to your sinus suffering.

To learn more about what we can do for you, call 860-BALLOON and schedule a consultation with our expert physicians. We have four conveniently-located offices in Connecticut – Kent, Litchfield, Shelton and Waterbury – so making and getting to an appointment will be one of the easiest steps in your healing process. Get back on the path to wellness; we can help.

For additional information on sinus-related conditions or treatments, read more about CT Sinus Center and take a look at our blog.

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