So, after realizing how it’s not a structural problem with my nose/sinuses…and, that it’s not an allergy…
I’m forced to admit that the Google search I’m stuck with is this:
It’s a bitter pill to swallow that—at least to a certain extent—my chronic nasal congestion/sinusitis is most likely partially attributed to my decades of sucking on cigarettes. It’s probably not 100%. But, if you just use some common sense…and, you think about the process of inhaling smoke and exhaling it—sometimes through your nose—yes, it just stands to reason that this would damage your sinuses. This isn’t rocket science! As an ex-smoker, I’m sort of picking up the pieces and trying to get things right…
…Let’s face it. I can only get things part of the way right. Damage has been done.
So, the thing for me to do… the real Google search would be something like this:
Here are some pretty good links:
Smoking changes the lining of your nasal passages.
The nasal passages are lined with hair-like cells called cilia, which move back and forth. They work with mucus to prevent infection by trapping foreign particles and then “sweeping” them away, expelling the potential infection out of the body.
The chemicals used in cigarettes, like hydrogen cyanide and ammonia, are toxic to cilia and impair movement. Without movement, there’s a buildup of mucus in the nasal passages.
And, this part’s interesting too…sleep apnea…who would have guessed.
Smokers have difficulty sleeping through the night
The paralyzing effects that cigarette smoke has on nasal cilia also affect the cilia in the passages leading to the lungs. Without the cilia moving irritants along, people who smoke may feel congested, and wake up coughing because of the mucus buildup.
Smokers are also at risk of developing sleep apnea. A 2011 study found that smokers are 2.5 times more likely to have sleep apnea because cigarette smoke induces swelling that restricts air flow.
Smokers with chronic sinus disease see their condition improve after they quit. The only downside? It takes about ten years to make a full recovery.
Okay, nine more years to go. I wonder if there’s any way to speed that up a little.