As we age, our bodies undergo many changes, including changes in the nasal mucosa. Geriatric rhinitis, also known as atrophic rhinitis or senile rhinitis, is a chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa that is common in people over the age of 60. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at geriatric rhinitis, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
Causes of Geriatric Rhinitis
The exact cause of geriatric rhinitis is not fully understood. However, it is believed to be due to a combination of age-related changes in the nasal mucosa. These include:
- Aging: As we age, the nasal mucosa becomes thinner and drier, making it more susceptible to inflammation and irritation.
- Chronic inflammation: Prolonged exposure to irritants such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and allergens can lead to chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa.
- Hormonal changes: Changes in hormone levels that occur with age can also affect the nasal mucosa and contribute to the development of geriatric rhinitis.
Symptoms of Geriatric Rhinitis
The symptoms of geriatric rhinitis can vary from person to person, but some common ones include:
- Nasal dryness and crusting: The thinning and drying of the nasal mucosa can cause the formation of crusts in the nasal passages, leading to discomfort and difficulty breathing.
- Frequent nosebleeds: The dryness and thinning of the nasal mucosa can make it more susceptible to bleeding, leading to frequent nosebleeds.
- Loss of sense of smell: Chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa can affect the sense of smell, leading to a decreased ability to detect odors.
- Nasal congestion: Inflammation and irritation of the nasal mucosa can cause swelling and congestion, making it difficult to breathe through the nose.
- Postnasal drip: Geriatric rhinitis can cause an excess production of mucus, leading to a constant dripping sensation at the back of the throat.
- Sinus infections: Chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa can increase the risk of developing sinus infections, which can cause facial pain, headaches, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
These symptoms can be bothersome and may affect a person’s quality of life. In severe cases, geriatric rhinitis can also lead to complications such as sinusitis or nasal polyps.
Treatment for Geriatric Rhinitis
Treatment for geriatric rhinitis involves managing the symptoms and may include the following:
- Saline Nasal Sprays or Gels: These can help keep the nasal passages moist and reduce the formation of crusts.
- Humidifiers: A humidifier can add moisture to the air, which can help keep the nasal passages moist.
- Medications: Antihistamines and nasal steroids can reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged nasal tissue and improve breathing.
Prevention of Geriatric Rhinitis
While it may not be possible to prevent geriatric rhinitis entirely, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the condition. These include:
- Avoiding Irritants: Avoid exposure to irritants such as smoke, dust, and pollution.
- Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air
- Avoiding excessive use of decongestants and nasal sprays
- Maintaining good nasal hygiene, such as washing the nasal passages with saline solution
- Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle: Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking.
- Regular Check-ups: Regular visits to the doctor can help detect and treat any nasal conditions early.
Geriatric rhinitis is a common condition that affects older adults. While it cannot be prevented, managing the symptoms can help improve quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms of geriatric rhinitis, don’t let your condition go untreated. Contact our team at Enticare today and let us help you find the best course of treatment. Call us at 480-214-9000.