Chronic Sinusitis is often part of a cluster of Health Problems that includes asthma and bronchitis as well as serious digestive problems, such as chronic heartburn. Sinusitis also is a cause of sleep apnea (temporary cessation of breathing while sleeping), which can indirectly lead to heart attach and stroke. Knowing that these conditions can be connected helps sinusitis sufferers to protect themselves from seemingly unrelated health problems when the sinuses become inflamed by infection or allergy, the tissues swell, closing off the airflow and making it difficult to breathe through the nose. As a result of inflammation, mucus turns thick and sticky and can become yellow, green, brown or tan.
The inflammation and infection associated with sinusitis can spreed to the respiratory track and affect the digestive system as well, causing a broad set of health problems called chronic airway-digestive inflammatory disease, which results in the following:
- Lung problems. When the sinuses no longer cleanse the air properly, inflammation of the large and medium airways can result. This can lead to bronchitis, causing congestion, coughing and shortness of breath. Inflammation of the small airways can cause asthma.
- Digestive disorders. Infectious mucus dripping down the back of the throat may inflame the stomach, causing acid to back up into the esophagus, leading to chronic heartburn, a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Sleep Apnea. Many people who snore also suffer from sleep apnea. Besides the stress of extreme fatigue caused by repeated awakenings, sleep apnea reduces oxygen levels in the blood, increasing heart attack and stroke risk