Sinus allergies and Asthma

Patient

Q: I get asthma problems about once a month now. I had a CAT scan of my sinuses. They are practically filled with polyps, so surgery is scheduled. Once my sinuses are cleared up, is it possible that my asthma problems might not occur quite as often? I am 53 and have had these problems for about 13 yrs, gradually worsening over the years.

Doctor

A:   To help understand your medical problem, it helps to understand what Asthma is.  Asthma is a reversible irritation and inflammation of your airways.  When your asthma is triggered, it could present as a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or life threatening airways restriction.
The first step in asthma management is to identify the trigger.  Common triggers include dust, pets, environmental pollens, cigarette smoke and weather changes.  Once the trigger is identified, avoiding it is often all that is needed to manage your asthma.
If your trigger is unavoidable, medications may be needed.
Sinuses are considered to be your upper airways and often the same triggers that trigger your asthma, may make your sinuses worse. Polyps are growths found in the upper airways that may be physically blocking the air passages and making breathing difficult.  Surgery is often the only option for management of polyps.
Once the polyps are removed, air will be able to flow more freely. If the air you breath contains triggers for your asthma, it is possible your asthma will worsens or need more medical management.
So to answer your questions, removal of polyps will help your sinuses but may make your Asthma worse.  Fortunately, the majority of cases of asthma can be managed with medications.
I hope this helps
 

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