Most asthma specialists agree that sinusitis can worsen asthma.
In a study at the UCLA School of Medicine, forty-eight children with bad sinus disease and asthma were aggressively treated for their sinus disease. After five weeks of treatment, thirty-eight of these children stopped wheezing and were able to discontinue all their asthma medicine. Similar results were observed in adult studies in Washington, D.C., and St. Louis, although adults were more likely to require surgery to control their sinus disease.
Most asthma specialists agree that sinusitis can worsen asthma. Doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, found that 31 percent of 138 children with asthma had abnormal sinus X rays, but they did not find the majority of bad sinuses in the worst asthma cases. They felt that the abnormal sinus X rays reflected allergy and inflammation associated with asthma.
More studies are needed to determine the relationship between asthma and sinusitis. The important point these recent sinus studies showed is that most patients with asthma and sinus disease were completely unaware that they had any sinus problems. Their symptoms consisted of only a rnild postnasal drip or a chronic cough. I have seen many patients with this so-called silent sinus disease whose only complaint was bad breath in the morning or a mild postnasal drip. As a result of the findings of these studies, astute asthma specialists now more closely question their patients about sinus symptoms. They obtain sinus X rays or a sinus CAT scan when they suspect that hidden sinusitis may be triggering asthma.