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Are allergies just a problem with the nose?

 

If you answered “Yes,” then you probably don’t have allergies.  Allergic rhinitis has been designated the “Rodney Dangerfield” of medical diagnoses…it gets NO RESPECT!  Many people (including health insurance companies) feel it is just a nuisance that can be treated with tissues and OTC antihistamines.  Allergies affect the quality of life of many people and up to 30% of the population is affected (especially children).

Allergic rhinitis has been linked to many other diagnoses:

  • Asthma: nearly 1/3 of patients with allergic rhinitis have asthma and over 60% of patients with asthma have allergies.
  • Ear symptoms: Otitis media (ear infections), serous otitis (fluid behind the ear drums), and Eustachian tube dysfunction (that plugged feeling in the ears) can all be associated with allergies.  The inflammation of the nose impacts on the function of the Eustachian tube and middle ear.
  • Sinus problems:  When the inflammation from allergies leads to swelling and copious mucus in the nose, this can lead to problems with sinus drainage resulting in infection or chronic inflammation.
  • Sleep-Disordered breathing: this means difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and achieving a deep, regenerative sleep.  Nasal congestion with obstruction may lead to snoring, periodic arousals from sleep and even sleep apnea.  This may partially explain that fatigue.
  • Dental and facial abnormalities:  chronic mouth breathing due to nasal congestion can lead to changes in the dental and facial bone structure in children.  The long drawn face is termed “adenoid face” and orthodontic abnormalities may require intervention.

Goals for Allergic Rhinitis control:

  • Minimal or no symptoms
  • Rare need for antihistamines
  • No symptom progression
  • Minimal or no side effects from medication
  • High sleep quality
  • Good nasal air flow
  • High Daily performance (school or work)
  • Other conditions controlled:  asthma, eye symptoms, ear and sinus infections.
  • Good overall quality of life!

If you have nasal or eye symptoms, associated with poor sleep quality, side effects of medications, sinus infections, asthma, fatigue or ear symptoms…..call Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana.  We will provide an individualized action plan to improve your quality of life.

This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional.

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