It is well known that tobacco smoking is key to the development of lung disorders such as emphysema and lung cancer.
However – it has also long been suspected that cigarette smoking is detrimental to the nose and sinuses and contributes to the development and persistence of chronic sinusitis. Until now, there has been no real evidence demonstrating implicated mechanisms. Now physicians have the much needed evidence necessary to recommend tobacco cessation in their chronic sinusitis patients.
A recent study from Montreal published in the International Form of Allergy and Rhinology helps explain how smoking contributes to the development of chronic sinusitis, by showing that indicators of systemic inflammation are higher in chronic sinusitis patients who smoke. Reviewing data from 700 patients with chronic sinusitis, the group showed that levels of white blood cells and of neutrophils (mature developed white blood cells essential in protecting the body against disease and infections) were significantly higher in individuals with chronic sinusitis who are active smokers. It is believed that this leads to a higher level of systemic inflammation resulting in more severe forms of chronic sinusitis. This is characterized by infection with unusual bacteria, which are often resistant to corticosteroids, the common treatment for chronic sinusitis.
An encouraging note: Researchers showed that levels returned to normal levels in individuals who had ceased smoking, suggesting that these changes are reversible upon smoking cessation.
As stated by Dr. Martin Desrosiers, senior author of this article and a practicing ear nose and throat surgeon at the Université de Montréal, “I am confident these findings offer solid evidence for doctors to continue to recommend quitting smoking to all patients but more specifically to their patients with chronic sinusitis. This is another tool to show patients that quitting smoking will lead to a reduction in systemic measures of inflammation – and therefore some additional relief for sinus suffers – to an improvement in the health of their sinuses into their overall condition.”
To read more visit: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24431239
Prepared by: Martin Desrosiers, MD, Clinical Professor, Université de Montréal
Disclaimer: This post and website provides general information only. It does not provide medical advice nor is it a substitute for the advice of a physician. Patients are advised to always consult their physician for any specific information about their personal health. This web site does not intend to create a doctor-patient relationship. There will be no provision of or undertaking to provide, care or advice by a physician through the use of this web site.