Prior to getting into the link between sinusitis as well as sleep apnea, it is important to get an understanding of what sinusitis is and how it affects the human body. In simple terms, sinusitis can be defined as the swelling of sinus cavities, nose, and cheeks. In the sinuses that are healthy, a thin layer of mucous and small hairs known as cilia line the surfaces, which helps to both trap as well as push pollutants and bacteria, and eventually drains through the small openings to the nasal cavity.
If your sinuses are healthy, the mucus formed in the sinuses will get cleared every ten minutes. However, when mucus production turns excess disrupting its normal clearing from the nose, it builds up and leads to swelling in the nose, and thereby sinusitis. People with the sinus infection experience several symptoms, comprising headache, sinus pressure, facial pain, as well as fatigue. It is considered chronic when one case of sinusitis lasts 6 weeks or more and even if a person develops the condition over 4 times in a year.
Besides the symptoms experienced during the day, chronic sinusitis also affects the sleeping patterns of the patient, and that brings us to Obstructive Sleep Apnea – what it is and in which way it is related to sinusitis.
Sinusitis and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
People who snore frequently tend to be Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients too, as loud snoring is one of its symptoms. In fact, it is the main symptom of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by loud snoring during sleep. Precisely, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is categorized as a sleep-disordered breathing condition. When the soft tissues in the mouth relax during sleep, it then causes partial blockages in the upper airway and induces the snoring sound.
Apart from that, Obstructive Sleep Apnea also causes the person to momentarily wake up gasping for breath. The pattern of gasping for breath can last from a few seconds to even an hour, occurring intermittently, in sleep. Its severity depends on the breathing obstruction or pattern.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be mild to moderate or even severe. If it is not serious with snoring remaining loud during sleep, you can seek anti snoring devices to advance the lower jaw and get a free flow of air. This is because the snoring sound is produced when the air rushes past the blocked airway and vibrates the soft tissues in the throat.
There are several factors, that play into the development of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and nasal and sinus issues are an element in that. Apparently, a breathing obstruction can also occur due to sinusitis. When sinus cavities cause draining difficulties, leading to chronic or intermittent sinusitis, it could be the sign of an underlying anatomical problem. The same nasal issue could be causing the partial or full blockages in the airway and in turn leading to the sleep-disordered breathing.