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Sinus Trouble Can Lead to Depression, Lost Work

FRIDAY, March 10, 2017 -- People who are depressed due to chronic sinus infections are less productive, according to a new study.

They're more likely to miss work or school than those with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) who aren't depressed, researchers found. Scientists said their findings could lead to targeted therapy to help improve patients' overall quality of life.

"We found that of all symptoms related to CRS -- sinus, nasal or otherwise -- the severity of depressed mood and depression symptomatology was the predominant factor associated with how often our CRS patients missed work or school due to their CRS," said senior author Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat. He is a sinus surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and assistant professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School.

CRS is a common illness that interferes with breathing and sleeping. The study authors identified three other issues that lower the quality of life for people with CRS: nasal blockages, ear and facial pain, and emotional function.

The researchers asked 107 people with CRS to complete surveys about their symptoms and their attendance at school and on the job.

On average, the participants said they missed three days of work or school over three months, or 12 in one year. Emotional issues -- particularly depression symptoms -- were the main reason for missed days, the study found.

The researchers said they were surprised to find that poor sleep and nasal congestion did not lead to missed days.

"These findings really point to the fact that specific elements [in this case, symptoms] of CRS may be driving specific disease manifestations or consequences of the disease," Sedaghat said in a hospital news release.

He said the findings "open the door to exploring interventions directed at depressed mood for reducing productivity losses due to CRS."

The study was published online March 10 in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on chronic sinusitis.

Posted: March 2017


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