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Growing old and sinus problems

The older you become the thinner your mucus membranes become leading to multiple sinus complications. What is the connection between getting older and sinus problems?

Everyday we look in the mirror and notice that we are getting older. We see wrinkles on our face, crows feet in the corners of our eyes and loose, thin skin on our arms. We worry so much about the way we look on the outside BUT … what about the inside?

Have you ever thought about the skin inside your body getting older, getting damaged and getting thinner?

The skin inside your nose is exposed to many factors because we use this organ to breathe every second of everyday. This makes your nose the most commonly infected organ of the respiratory tract.

The lining inside your nose is made up of tissue that produces mucus. This lining of tissue is called the mucous membrane (mucosa). Mucosa is your body’s first line of defense against dust, germs and allergens. We breathe in strong perfumes, pungent aromas’s and may even suffer from a runny nose, allergies and sinus infections every now and again as a result of irritation and inflammation of this mucosa lining!


What does all this do to the lining inside your nose?

Due to various nasal conditions and factors your mucous membranes gradually thin and dry out causing multiple sinus problems. Factors that cause problems include:

  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Old age
  • Substance abuse
  • Recurrent/chronic sinusitis (bacterial sinus infections)
  • Colds and flu’s (viral infections)
  • Chemical irritations in the nose (perfumes, smoke)
  • Physical irritations (nose picking, sinus surgery, nasal trauma)
  • Nasal dripping and nasal spray abuse
  • Tuberculosis
  • Fungal infections

Let’s look at what sinus problems these conditions cause:

  • Chronic Rhinitis, Recurrent Sinus Infections, chemical and physical irritations and Fungal Infections can cause atrophy of the mucus membranes. The word atrophy means decrease and waste away of a body tissue (degenerate). This condition is known as Atrophic Rhinitis. When your mucus membranes thin out and harden they cause:

    • Your nasal passages to dry out and dilate
    • Crusting in the nose
    • An offensive odor originating from the nose may develop and in certain cased may be observed by others
    • Anosmia
    • Nose bleeds
    • Recurrent bacterial infections

  • Old age can cause your mucous membranes to degenerate and cause nasal obstructions through Atrophic Rhinitis and thick Post Nasal Drip. Symptoms may include:

    • Nasal obstructions which are worse at night
    • Loss of cartilage support in the area of the nasal passages
    • Dry nasal passages

  • Nasal corticosteroids and decongestants help unblock trapped mucus by thinning your mucous membrane linings thereby opening up any drainage holes and allowing mucus to exit freely. When your mucous membranes are thin there is free airflow for mucus movement and less congestion. This thinning of your mucous membranes however results in them becoming porous and makes one more susceptible to further sinus complications.

    The mucus membrane is a thin lining of tissue in your nose. The over use of steroids can also lead to tissue wearing down and the mucous membrane become overly thin. As the tissue wears down the blood vessels in them break and cause nosebleeds. This condition is also known as Epistaxis. As we get older we often use medications that contain blood thinners which also contribute to Epistaxis.


What is the connection between getting older and sinus problems?

As we get older our mucus membranes are exposed to various factors such as Viral Infections (cold and flu’s), Bacterial Infections (Sinusitis), Allergies and breathing in smoke and other pungent odors. When we have these problems we often treat it with nasal steroids and decongestants, which only cause more damage to your mucous membranes.

Due to these numerous causes, older people have much thinner and drier mucous membranes. Thin and dry membranes are one of the main causes of sinus problems such as Atrophic Rhinitis, nasal obstructions and Epistaxis.


Tips to help older people deal with various sinus problems

  • Inhale steam to help thin and loosen thick mucus.
  • Use Sinus-Pro's Post Nasal remedy to treat thick post nasal drip.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and promote effective mucus drainage.
  • Eat healthy fruits and vegetables to sustain your immune system.
  • Visit your doctor regularly.
  • Take a daily multivitamin.
  • Use humidifiers in the home to help moisten dry air and prevent nasal bleeding (Epistaxis)
  • Performing regular nasal rinses using a preservative free solution promotes healing of damage mucus membrane lining.
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