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The Risks and Dangers of Nasal Polyps

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nasal polyps

Nasal polyps can result in breathing difficulty

Nasal polyps are the fleshy masses that grow along the nose lining and nasal cavities. They usually vary in size and their color also differs from being pink or yellowish brown. The growth of the polyps usually occurs on both nostrils. These are non-cancerous, however, if they grow big enough to cover the nostril, breathing difficulty will occur. The condition is common with a ratio of 1:20 in every 1,000 persons and it affects males more than females. The most common symptom that one will commonly experience that will indicate nasal polyps is pain due to the inflammatory condition in the nasal passage and sinuses.

Who are at risk for nasal polyps

Children who frequently experience a sinus infection, cystic fibrosis or allergic rhinitis is highly at risk of getting nasal polyp growth. Individuals who are in their 40's are highly susceptible to the condition, as well, especially those with a frequent sinus infection and asthma. Other conditions that could make one highly susceptible to nasal polyps are those with Churg-Strauss syndrome, a rare condition involving inflamed blood vessels, and aspirin sensitivity. Genetic predisposition involving the immune system function is a suspected risk factor, although an accurate finding about its genetic link to nasal polyps is not clearly established. Other conditions that are associated with nasal polyp growths include alcohol intolerance (seen in 50% of patients with nasal polyps), chronic rhinosinusitis, and bronchial asthma (present in at least 20% to 50% of patients). Interesting to note though, that the risk for nasal polyps is higher in non-allergic diseases, which is about 13% as compared to allergic asthma, which only accounts to 5% of cases.

The dangers of nasal polyps

The condition is highly manageable and treatable. Nasal polyps only become a serious condition when complications occur, such as obstructive sleep apnea that will make you suddenly stop breathing while asleep. This can be a serious medical condition that needs treatment immediately. The spread of infection from the nostril to the eyes can also pose serious complications resulting in swelling and bulging of the eyes. This may lead to blindness or a blurred vision. When the infection spreads to the brain to infect the brain membranes and fluids, meningitis occur. Asthma flare-ups will also be more frequent and it will make your sinus infections become worse and cause it to occur more frequently.

Managing your symptoms

Managing your symptoms is essential in order to obtain relief from nasal polyps. Seeing your doctor immediately will help you manage the swelling and inflammation quickly before large masses of polyps grow further that can obstruct your breathing and lead to more serious complications. Not all cases of nasal polyps will produce symptoms, but when it does, the most common manifestation includes post nasal drip and a runny nose. One may will a stuffed or blocked nose that makes it hard to breathe. Pain on the face is also common, while itchiness of the eyes, headache and changes in the sense of smell also occur.

Taking a steroid prescribed by your doctor is a common treatment of choice to shrink the polyps and to manage the inflammation in the nostrils. Steroid tablets are more effective against larger polyps, while antihistamine, antibiotic and antifungal medications are also prescribed. Surgery is the last option that your doctor will consider, and most commonly resorted to in order to manage large polyps that are unresponsive to medications. There are also natural remedies that can help manage nasal polyps better and found to be safe and effective. But you need to see a doctor to rule out other possible diseases that can mimic the symptoms of nasal polyps.

References:

  1. Nasal Polyps Miracle Treatment
  2. Medical News Today
  3. Medscape