The annoying nasal congestion you are experiencing may be a problem not just in your head, but in your chest.
Studies over the last 10 plus years have looked at the effects of treatment of allergic rhinitis on asthma.
It has been hypothesized that asthma and allergic rhinitis are both manifestations of a single inflammatory process present throughout the airway and that control of the inflammatory response associated with allergic rhinitis may help to reduce inflammation throughout the airway and improve control of asthma.
A study as far back as 2003 looked at the link between allergic rhinitis and asthma. Their investigations found that among those individuals with asthma and allergic rhinitis, treatment for allergic rhinitis was associated with a decrease in the risk of asthma-related events by one-third to one-half compared with persons who did not receive treatment for this disorder.
A 2010 study showed that having chronic stuffiness and runny nose may cause an immune system response that can lead to serious asthma symptoms. That link appeared to be worse in patients whose asthma symptoms varied including wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing and chest tightness.
“Chronic rhinitis is a very common problem and can lead to serious symptoms for people with asthma,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “It’s important that you visit your medical practitioner if congestion and runny nose persist so you can better manage the potential for asthma.”
It is very important to try to avoid those triggers that lead to nasal symptoms such as allergens, dust and other airborne pollutants. Neuzil suggests that if you even suspect you’ve been exposed, to cleanse your nasal passages with a saline based formula to get rid of the triggers.
There are a variety of sinus rinses available but Neuzil’s suggests having a non-medicated saline spray handy so you can rinse as needed. Plus, he says using a nasal cleansing spray will help open up clogged passages alleviating some of the rhinitis symptoms.