Nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are small, soft, painless, non-cancerous growths that develop inside the nose and sinuses. They are caused by chronic mucosal inflation and are more common in adults, affecting 5% of the population.

The condition associated with the presence of polyps is called nasal polyposis. These polyps can have a very variable size and, in many occasions, they do not represent a medical attention problem, although, sometimes, their size can cause them to obstruct the airway and require surgery. The causes of their appearance are not entirely clear, but there are factors that can lead to their appearance, such as the following:

  • Although they can appear at any age, they are more frequent in young adults.
  • It is a pathology that causes inflammation of the respiratory tract.
  • Sensitivity to aspirin, as it can worsen chronic inflammation of the nose and sinuses.
  • Allergic sinusitis.
  • Cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that increases the viscosity of secretions.
  • Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Some diseases such as Churg-Strauss syndrome.

Symptoms

If they are small, polyps will most likely have no associated symptoms, however, multiple growths or a large polyp can block the nasal passages and/or sinuses causing symptoms such as those listed below:

  • Runny nose with more fluid secretions.
  • Constant congestion
  • Decreased sense of taste and smell
  • Facial and headache
  • Sensation of pressure on the face
  • Snoring
  • Frequent nosebleeds

Prevention

Because the exact causes of nasal polyps are unknown, there is no effective way to prevent their formation. However, there are strategies that help reduce the likelihood of developing them:

  • Treat allergies and asthma.
  • Avoid substances that can irritate the nasal mucosa, such as allergens, tobacco smoke, certain chemicals or dust.
  • Have good hygiene habits, such as good hand washing, in order to avoid respiratory infections.
  • Maintain a humid environment in your home, since it favors the flow of mucus and avoids obstruction and inflammation of the sinuses.

Number of observed variants

13.5 million variants

Number of risk loci

20 loci

Genes analyzed

ADO ALOX15 BACH2 COLEC10 CYP2S1 FOXP1 GATA3 GPX4 HLA-DQA1 IL18R1 IL33 IRF1 IRF4 NCOA1 RMI2 RPS26 TBX1 TNFSF11 TSLP ZEB2

Bibliography

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