Quitting smoking is good for every aspect of your health, including your sinuses.
Medical literature indicates that cigarette smoke, either directly from smoking or secondhand smoke, contributes to the development of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), which is inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses.
Let’s take a look at how cigarette smoke affects your sinuses, as well as the benefits of quitting.
How Your Nose and Sinuses Keep You Healthy
The lining of the nose and sinuses is the same as the lungs, with tiny hair-like structures known as cilia that help keep these parts protected from things like airborne particulates, bacteria and too much mucus. Smoking damages cilia, causing them not to work and leaving both your lungs and sinuses more vulnerable to infection.
The membranes in your nose and sinuses produce mucus that acts as a sort of blanket to help protect your respiratory system. However, when the cilia are damaged, it causes mucus to back up into the sinuses. Bacteria then start to multiply, which leads to a sinus infection.
Sinus Conditions That Are Linked to Smoking
Multiple sinus conditions can be caused or made worse by smoking, including:
- Chronic sinusitis: Sinusitis is another term for sinus infection. It’s considered chronic if it lasts longer than 12 weeks. Symptoms can include facial pain and pressure, nasal congestion and thick nasal discharge. Because smoking increases your risk of developing infections and also hampers your immune system’s ability to fight it off.
- Snoring/sleep apnea: Smoking causes airways congestion which can increase your risk of snoring and worsen obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea interferes with breathing while you sleep and, left untreated, can lead to long-term health consequences.
- Decreased senses: Smoking can worsen your ability to both smell and taste. This makes it harder to enjoy the smell of flowers in the spring or savor the food at The Tulip Tree or any of your favorite Spartanburg restaurants.
- Various cancers: Most concerningly, cigarette smoking has been linked to an increased risk of nose and sinus cancers.
Quit Smoking To Improve Your Sinus Health
If you are a smoker who deals with chronic sinus issues, there’s good news. Studies have shown that quitting smoking improves your sinus symptoms and that your symptoms continue to improve for years after smoking cessation.
To speak with an ENT specialist or to schedule an appointment to discuss your sinus issues, contact Spartanburg | Greer ENT & Allergy, today.