The Asthma Center

Medical risk factors

There are many factors that may contribute to your likelihood of developing sinus disease including:

  1. Acute upper respiratory infections (common cold)
  2. Perennial and seasonal upper respiratory allergies
  3. Perennial nonallergic nasal congestion
  4. Immune disorders

    a. Immunodeficiency is suspected if you have recurrent or persistent sinus, ear, or lung bacterial infections, are infected with unusual bacteria, or have a family history of immunodeficiency

    b. Decreased immune responses from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer, or immunosuppressive treatment for cancer or autoimmune diseases may put you at risk for frequent episodes of sinusitis
  5. Bacterial invasion from an adjacent tooth infection such as an upper tooth abscess
  6. Infected or enlarged adenoid tissue that blocks mucociliary clearance

    a. Adenoids are tonsil-like tissues in the nasal passageway just above the throat.

    b. Adenoid disease is mostly seen in children.
  7. Wegener granulomatosis (an autoimmune illness associated with septal perforations and inflammation in the lungs and kidneys)
  8. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  9. Cystic fibrosis or cystic fibrosis variant syndrome

    a. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a condition causing accumulation of thickened secretions in the nose, sinuses and chest. Individuals with CF often suffer from repeated sinus, lung and ear infections.

    b. In 2000, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that some individuals with chronic sinusitis were carriers of a mutated or altered CF gene. Some individuals with this genetic abnormality may have irregularities in the mucous membranes of the sinuses similar to that seen in cystic fibrosis. These irregularities may increase the chances of getting an infection. It is too early to know whether this genetic mutation is common.