A nasal polyp is a condition in which soft and painless growths, that are also non-cancerous, grow on the coating of the nasal passages or sinuses. These are usually connected with conditions like asthma, allergies, immunity disorders, etc. They more commonly affect adults.
Who Is At Risk For Nasal Polyps?
There are certain risk factors for nasal polyps. Those conditions which may cause irritation and inflammation of the nasal passages or sinuses may put you at an increased risk for developing nasal polyps. These may include infections and allergies. The risk factors may include-
- Airway obstruction diseases like asthma. Asthma leads to inflammation and narrowing of airways
- Sensitivity to aspirin
- Sinusitis, especially the one which is caused due to fungus- allergic fungal sinusitis
- A genetic disorder called cystic fibrosis which leads to sticky and thick fluids from the glands like a sticky seat, sticky mucus, etc.
- Some rare diseases, like Churg-strauss syndrome, which leads to an inflammation of blood vessels
- A deficiency of vitamin d
- A family history of nasal polyps may also be a risk factor
- Having an immunity disorder could also contribute to increasing your risk of getting polyps(1)
The precise reason for nasal polyps is not yet known. It is not known why some people get irritation and inflammation and develop nasal polyps and why not others. The swelling develops in the mucous membrane of your nose and sinuses. It may be seen in some studies that the people developing nasal polyps have a different immune system response than those who don’t. they also have some different chemical markers in their mucous membranes. Nasal polyps are seen to be forming anywhere in the nasal passages and sinuses. But most commonly, they are seen in that area where sinuses near the eyes, cheek, and nose drain into your nose. Nasal polyps are seen to be developing at any age. However, they are more commonly seen in young people and middle-aged people.(1)
Is There A Blood Test For Nasal Polyps?
Your doctor may ask you to take a blood test. The blood test may show significantly lower levels of vitamin D, which is associated with nasal polyps. He may also ask you to undertake a blood test for screening of any antibodies for different types of allergens(2)
The doctor would be most likely able to diagnose your condition with the help of a thorough physical examination and a detailed examination of your nose. Other than the blood test, he may recommend a few more tests, which may include-
- Imaging tests
- Allergy tests
- Cystic fibrosis test – especially done when nasal polyps are diagnosed in a child.
Complications Of Nasal Polyps-
You could have nasal polyps and not even know it if they are very small and less in number. They may not cause any problems in you. In those, who have bigger and a greater number of nasal polyps, they may cause some complications by obstructing your airways and the normal airflow. They can also obstruct your fluid drainage. They can cause long-term inflammation and irritation in your nasal Passages.
- Nasal polyps may cause sleep apnea that is obstructive in nature. This is a condition in which you start and stop breathing abruptly, several times during your sleep
- Nasal polyps may also cause asthma attacks or flare-ups. Asthma may get worsened if you also have chronic sinusitis
- Nasal polyps may also put you more at risk of getting sinus infections. These infections may be recurrent in nature.(1)
There are various risk factors for nasal polyps. Being careful of these risk factors can help in preventing nasal polyps as well as stopping them from recurring. A blood test may be recommended to check for certain parameters for diagnosing nasal polyps.