I Think I Have Allergies…Or Don’t I?

A little background…
A healthy and happy nose is like the most fantastic homemaker. When it does a good job it humidifies and warms the air we breathe, making breathing through your nose feel far better than your mouth (try it). It’s an amazing housekeeper, working hard to filter the air so only clean oxygen reaches our lungs. It may alert us to danger or delight with pleasure as we recall and associate wonderful memories upon smelling any one of tens-of-thousands of scents. And for most of us, it defines a big part of our character and appearance.

I Think I Have Allergies…But why aren’t my meds working?

Having a functional nose is absolutely vital if you want a good quality of life.
I’ve seen a number of confused patients in my practice, who have taken allergy medications for years with limited benefit and on some occasion much harm. Some test positive for allergies, others may not. This is because all that sniffles is not an allergy!

Our nose and sinuses work hand in hand to get a lot done. The job gets more difficult when ventilation (air getting in) and circulation (air getting out) is blocked. There are a lot of reasons this can happen. The most common reasons are faulty anatomy and inflammation – and anything and everything that can cause those two things may be the culprit.

Other than allergies, what else causes inflammation?

When antihistamine allergy medications aren’t doing the trick and you are reaching for decongestants regularly, there is usually something more. Chronic sinusitis is one of the most common medical diseases in the United States, affecting nearly 30 million Americans. Unlike acute sinus infections that send you running to your doctor for antibiotics, chronic sinusitis sufferers may have less obvious symptoms that mimic allergies and never seem to get better.

Sinus headaches, facial pain, fatigue, nasal drainage, nasal stuffiness, or difficulty breathing when you lay down to sleep are never normal. These symptoms are common indicators of chronic sinus inflammation and may represent a head full of trapped mucus or deeper silent infections.

Although many patients with chronic sinusitis also suffer from allergies, this is not the case for most. According to a survey of more than 600 asthma and allergy patients by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, researchers found about half of patients with chronic sinusitis misdiagnose themselves with seasonal allergies.

What I tell my patients….

If you routinely suffer from allergies, polyps, chronic sinusitis or sleep-disordered breathing, it is important to get evaluated early by a specialist. Advances in technology have made in-office procedures more effective, with little to no down time for a variety of conditions.

Our favorite cure is incisionless Balloon Sinuplasty by Medtronic, where we use your CT scan in the office to pinpoint the exact location of the blockage. Within minutes, the endoscopic balloon is inflated, the sinus passageways are remodeled without incisions and patients can return to work the very next day.
For patients with polyps, we favor the Propel product.

This very delicate, miniature device is gently placed into the sinus area, and elutes steroid medications for up to 4 weeks to melt polyps away. The high dose topical delivery has proven more effective than oral steroids, with far fewer side effects.

Dr. Monica Tadros is a double board certified in ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery. After years of highly specialized training, she first joined the faculty at Columbia University Medical Center and trained resident physicians and medical students as a pioneer in the highly evolving field of aesthetic medicine. Now in private practice , she bridges the gap between Form and Function with unique emphasis on the intimate relationship between beauty and health.

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