Immediate reaction seen in nasal passages of sufferers, scans find
MONDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A new Dutch study provides solid proof that allergies can trigger the sinus problems that afflict millions of Americans.
When allergy-causing substances were dripped into the noses of people with chronic sinusitis, almost all of them developed significant sinus responses, such as inflammation, evident on X-ray and ultrasound images, according to a report in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology--Head & Neck Surgery by physicians at the Allergy Research Foundation in Breda, the Netherlands.
"This is something that further supports what we've already known," said Dr. Jordan S. Josephson, a sinus and allergy specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "People should consider allergy testing when they have chronic sinusitis."
An estimated 30 million to 40 million Americans have chronic sinusitis, a swelling and inflammation of the maxillary sinuses located mid-face below the cheeks, said Dr. Michael Benninger, chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Head & Neck Institute. It's been known that a high percentage of them also have allergies, and the new study provides objective evidence of the link, he noted.
It's sometimes difficult to disentangle the two conditions, Josephson said. "Sometimes it's called an allergic sinus infection, sometimes an allergy," he said. "There can be sinus infection with accompanying allergy."
The surprise in the Dutch study was the swiftness of the sinus response to nasal allergens, Benninger said. "Allergy causes inflammation and swelling of the nasal tissue, and sinusitis is inflammation and swelling of tissue," he said. "We never before have had a very good objectification of the immediate response of the tissues."
The study included 71 people with chronic sinusitis and 16 others who had nasal allergies without sinus disease. W
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