How Smoking Impacts Your Sinuses

You don’t need us to tell you that smoking is bad for you; you know all about the risks it poses for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Then there are the other terrible things such as odor, inconvenience and of course, the cost that accompany the habit. And while you may have suspected, tobacco smoke is also damaging to your sinuses, and in this blog we’re going to talk about just that.

That’s Irritating

If you’ve ever been around cigarette smoke, especially if you’re not the one smoking, you know that it can irritate your nose. For everyone, smoke has a very real physical adverse effect on the mucus membranes that line your nasal passages. Since it is a harmful allergen, the mucus membranes go into overdrive to produce extra mucus and swell, which causes congestion and runny nose. In addition, the membranes are sensitive and smoke is abrasive, further leading to irritation.

Smoke and Your Cilia

Cilia are the tiny hair-like structures in your nose that move back and forth, working as a filter for your nasal passages. When the cilia are healthy, they work to push the protective mucus smoothly down the back of your throat. This may sound uncomfortable, but it is constantly happening and you don’t even realize it. The cilia also work to trap harmful toxins that come in from your nose before they reach your lungs and other important organs.

However, smoking causes serious damage to the cilia, beginning with paralyzing them and ultimately shortening them so that they are completely ineffective. When this occurs, mucus builds up and so do all the harmful substances, such as bacteria, that it was designed to flush out. In turn, this build up leads to chronic sinusitis and other respiratory illnesses.

Treating Sinusitis after Smoking

If you want to eliminate the adverse effects that smoking has on your sinuses, then you have to quit smoking, because even if your symptoms go away, smoking will cause them to return again and again and become much more difficult to treat. That said, we know quitting isn’t that easy. But you can do it, and there are smoking cessation programs out there that can help. Then when it comes to treating the sinus issues that are left behind, CT Sinus Center is here.

When you come in, we’ll discuss your symptoms and medical history before doing anything else. Next, we’ll perform a thorough series of tests to see how much damage smoking has done and how we can treat it. The great news is that once you quit, your cilia can return to normal functioning and your nasal passage irritation will be alleviated (which you are not around smoke). Once we have the results, we’ll work with you to find a sinus solution that fits your lifestyle. You may even be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty, a non-invasive, in-house procedure done with local anesthesia, that can put a permanent end to your sinus suffering.

To learn more about what we can do for you, call 860-BALLOON and schedule a consultation with our expert physicians. We have four conveniently-located offices in Connecticut – Kent, Litchfield, Shelton and Waterbury – so making and getting to an appointment will be one of the easiest steps in your healing process. Get back on the path to wellness; we can help.

For additional information on sinus-related conditions or treatments, read more about CT Sinus Center and take a look at our blog.