Did you know that cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common lethal inherited disease in the Caucasian population, occurring in 1 in 20 newborns? While currently, there is no one cure for CF, research efforts to find solutions to ease symptoms are ongoing. Keep reading to learn more about them.
What Is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic and life-threatening condition that damages the lungs and digestive system. It affects the cells producing mucus, sweat, and digestive fluids. Usually, these fluids are runny and thin but if you have cystic fibrosis, they grow thick and viscous.
How Is Cystic Fibrosis Linked to Sinusitis?
Since cystic fibrosis affects epithelial cells and the sinuses are lined with respiratory epithelium, the condition has adverse effects on the sinus, too.
Although many people have sinusitis, those with CF have a distinct version of it that can be detected by physical tests as well as radiography. The biggest difference is the growth of nasal polyps in those with CF, which is less common in those without CF.
How Can It Be Treated?
Although there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, a variety of medications and interventions can help control symptoms, reduce consequences, and make living with the disease easier.
The following are the major treatment options for CF-induced sinusitis.
- This is an endoscopic procedure used to remove blockages that contribute to drainage, infection, pain, and swelling. It is an outpatient procedure where the blockages are identified through the endoscopic camera’s imaging and then cleared and removed via the nostrils.
- Under this procedure, a surgeon removes polyps in your nasal lining and sinus airways. The level of invasiveness required for you will be determined by the surgeon based on the location of the polyps, but they may be able to remove bigger polyps in the front of your nose using a microdebrider in the office setting.
- If the major issue is an infection of the sinuses, then antibiotics may suffice in treating and managing it. Amoxicillin and Azithromycin (for those allergic to Amoxicillin) are the usual drugs of choice to treat CF-induced sinusitis. Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin are also used sometimes depending on the bacteria involved. Maintaining adequate antibiotic levels in the sinuses ensures maximum results.
- Sinuses are responsible for humidifying the air we breathe in. Needless to say, infected sinuses cannot perform this function and so dry air can cause a lot of irritation and breathing trouble—especially when your mucus is already viscous.
- Nasal irrigation is the practice of washing your nasal cavity with water regularly to remove mucus and debris. For people with cystic fibrosis, it is harder for the nose and sinuses to clear the thick mucous on its own. Sinus rinsing can help. Saline nasal sprays may also be applied afterward to help with decongesting and moistening the mucus membranes. Nebulizers also perform a similar function.
Chloride Channel Modulators
- The most advanced of therapies for sinonasal manifestations of cystic fibrosis has to be CFTR (Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator). These modulators belong to a class of medication that improves the production, intracellular processing, and/or function of the CFTR protein that is lacking in those with cystic fibrosis.
If you’d like to learn more about the complications from sinusitis, visit the SinusHealth website. Our board-certified otolaryngologists provide trusted answers to your questions about nasal and sinus conditions and treatment methods. Get in touch with us if you need help finding a rhinologist.