Headaches Connected to Allergies and Sinus Problems

About 70 to 80% of the North American population has headaches, with 50% experiencing at least one headache per month, 15% experiencing at least one weekly and 5% daily.1,2 The occurrence of headaches rises sharply during the second decade of life. Then it levels off until the age of 40 to 50 years, after which it decreases.

While the majority of headaches are not a sign of a serious or life-threatening illness, they often affect quality of life. There are occasions where allergies or sinus problems can lead to a person to have headaches.

Headaches with rhinitis (hay fever) are common and may be due to sinus disease in and around the nasal passages. A sinus headache is hard to identify since headache specialists consider true sinus headache to be fairly rare. Recent studies suggest that patients who appear to have sinus headaches frequently have migraines.

People who have headaches that seem like they’re originating in the sinus should be carefully evaluated by a physician. Making the right diagnosis is important because primary headache disorders like migraines need a very different treatment compared with rhinosinusitis.

Acute sinusitis occurs when there is a bacterial infection in one or more of the sinuses in your head. Sinusitis is often over diagnosed as a cause of headaches because of the belief that pain over the sinuses must be related to the sinuses. In reality, pain in the front of the head is more often caused by migraines. Migraines are confused with true sinus headaches because of their similar locations. Headaches attributed to acute bacterial rhinosinusitis are a specific, rare diagnosis. Antibiotics are often used for treatment. Other options include steam, corticosteroids and decongestants. If sinusitis does not respond to medical treatment, surgery may need to be considered.

Chronic rhinosinusitis is one of the most common problems experienced with allergic rhinitis and can occasionally lead to headaches. Patients may also describe experiencing “sinus headaches.” However, it is controversial whether constant blockage of the nasal passages caused by allergic inflammation can lead to chronic headaches. Patients who experience blocked nasal passages should visit an allergist for testing. An allergist can find out what you are allergic to and help you manage your symptoms. Treatment strategies could include steps to avoid specific allergens, medications or allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots).

The criteria below are used by physicians to diagnose rhinosinusitis headaches:
1) A headache in the front of your head with pain in one or more areas of the face, ears, or teeth and clinical or laboratory evidence of acute or chronic rhinosinusitis. For example, your doctor might do a nasal endoscopy, which lets him or her see what is happening in your nasal and sinus passages.
2) Headache and rhinosinusitis symptoms that occur at the same time.
3) Headache and/or facial pain that goes away within seven days after decreased symptoms or successful treatment of acute or chronic rhinosinusitis.

The majority of people with self-diagnosed sinus headaches are really suffering from migraines, which is why it is important to see a doctor to get a correct diagnosis. Research also supports a link between migraine and allergy, so your physician will consider both migraine headache and sinus headache if you are experiencing headaches and allergic rhinitis.

References for the statistics mentioned:
1. Jones NS. Sinus headaches: avoiding over- and mis-diagnosis. Expert Rev Neurother 2009 April; 9 (4) 439-444.
2. Spierings EL. Acute, subacute, and chronic headache. Otolaryngol Clin North Am 2003 Dec.; 36 (6): 1095-1107.

Why I Walk: The Scenic Route

Thursday, September 12, 2013View Comments
This guest blog is by Stephanie Coon. Stephanie walks for Kansas City Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Interested in learning more about the walks? Go to walknowforautismspeaks.org for more information!
For myself, for my son, for everyone impacted by Autism. My journey down the Autism path started the Fall of 2005. My happy sweet outgoing 4 year old started to turn into a shy, timid little boy. In March 2006 we took him out of preschool and his father home schooled him for a month. Nothing changed, so back to preschool. This time I had a plan, and made an appointment for him at the University of Kansas Child Development center for an evaluation.

The appointment in July 2005 took 4.5 hours. They did a full physical work up, gave him every test possible. At the initial evaluation the report was ADHD and possibly on the Autism spectrum. However, we’d have to wait a month to get the official results. In August 2005, 2 weeks before he was to start Kindergarten, we got the report stating he was on the spectrum, PDD-NOS, and was ADHD.
In the matter of a few days I went through the 7 steps of the grieving process. I was grieving for the child I thought we had and all those hopes and dreams I had for that child. However, I realized he’s still the same child and I can still have those same hopes and dreams. Rather than the straight and narrow path we get to take the road less traveled. I call it the scenic route. It’ll still get us where we, and he, needs to go, but we’re just taking a little longer to get there. Good thing I’ve always been up for an adventure!
This is my son Tyler, 8 years old, now. He’s in third grade in a regular classroom. He’s got a few accommodations in place to help when he needs them. He still has issues with social situations and learning social cues, but he does have friends who have accepted him for who he is and a family that loves and supports him.
Why do you walk? Tell us your story at iwalkfor@gmail.com! If you would like to walk with our community as part of Walk Now for Autism Speaks go here to see if there is a walk in your area!
« 8 Reasons Why Our Community Walks for Autism Speaks!!!
Kansas City Walk Now For Autism Speaks, Stephanie Coon,

Why Manage Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, means the blood running through your arteries flows with too much force and puts pressure on your arteries, stretching them past their healthy limit and causing microscopic tears. Our body then kicks into injury-healing mode to repair these tears with scar tissue. But unfortunately, the scar tissue traps plaque and white blood cells which can form into blockages, blood clots, and hardened, weakened arteries.

By keeping your blood pressure in the healthy range, you are:

1. Reducing your risk of overstretched or injured blood vessel walls
2. Reducing your risk of blockages which also protects your heart and brain
3. Protecting your entire body so that your tissue receives regular supplies of blood that is rich in the oxygen it needs.

What is the Cost of High Blood Pressure?
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can injure or kill you. It’s sometimes called “the silent killer” because it has no symptoms. Approximately 90% of all Americans will develop hypertension over their lifetime and one in three adults has high blood pressure, yet, many people don’t even know they have it. Uncontrolled high blood pressure kills people and wreaks havoc on many lives by causing heart disease and stroke.

Blockages and blood clots mean less blood can get to our vital organs, and without blood, the tissue dies. That’s why high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and even heart failure.

What Can I Do to Reduce My Blood Pressure?
Good news! High blood pressure is manageable. Whether your blood pressure is high or normal (normal is less than 120 mm Hg systolic AND less than 80 mm Hg diastolic or <120/80) the lifestyle modifications listed here provide a great heart-healthy living plan for all of us. In addition, these changes may reduce your blood pressure without the use of prescription medications: eating a heart-healthy diet, which includes reducing sodium; enjoying regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight; managing stress; limiting alcohol; avoiding tobacco smoke.

Sinus infections account for more antibiotic prescriptions than any other diagnosis

Rhinosinusitis (sinus infections) are among the most common conditions encountered in medicine, and previous studies show antibiotics are prescribed extensively to treat rhinosinusitis. However, according to major consensus guidelines, antibiotics are not recommended for most patients with typical cases of acute sinus infections lasting less than 4 weeks, and the role of antibiotics for chronic sinus infections lasting more than 3 months is controversial.

In a Letter to the Editor in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI), Shintani-Smith et al. sought to describe the overall national burden of antibiotic burden for adult sinus infections. Study data were taken from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2006-2010, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sample data included antibiotic prescriptions associated with outpatient visits made by adults diagnosed with acute or chronic rhinosinusitis.

Over the five year study period, sinus infections (acute and chronic combined) accounted for 11% of all primary diagnoses for ambulatory care visits with antibiotic prescriptions, more than any other diagnosis or commonly grouped diagnoses. Over the five year study period, there were 21.4 million estimated visits associated with a primary diagnosis of acute sinus infection, and 47.9 estimated visits associated with a primary diagnosis of chronic sinus infection. Despite established clinical practice guidelines recommending against the use of antibiotics for typical acute sinus infections, antibiotics were prescribed in 86% of acute rhinosinusitis and 69% of chronic rhinosinusitis visits.

The data demonstrate that sinus infections diagnoses are responsible for more outpatient antibiotic prescriptions than any other diagnosis, identifying rhinosinusitis as a major target in national efforts to reduce unnecessary medical intervention. Excessive antibiotic use is associated with consequences including allergic reactions, adverse effects, unnecessary costs, and increasing bacterial resistance. The authors conclude that current rhinosinusitis treatment recommendations should be promoted across specialties, and efforts to educate policymakers and the general public on the indications, benefits, and risks of antibiotics should be increased.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

Anaphylaxis- what drives reactions severity?

Published Online: August 5, 2013

Prospective human studies of anaphylaxis and its mechanisms have been limited, with few severe cases and/or examining only one or two mediators. Therefore, we aimed to determine the clinical patterns of human anaphylaxis, including delayed deteriorations, risk factors, and the relationships between multiple immune mediators and reaction severity.

In a recent article published in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI), Brown et al studied cases of anaphylaxis presenting to eight Australian emergency departments over a three year period. Blood samples were taken to measure mast cell tryptase (MCT), histamine, anaphylatoxins (C3a, C4a, C5a), cytokines (interleukin (IL)-2, IL-6, IL-10, soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor I (TNFRI)), and platelet activating factor acetyl hydrolase (PAF-AH). These mediators, as well as baseline patient characteristics and reaction causation, were then studied to identify the risk factors and mediator patterns associated with reaction severity and delayed (recurrent, or “biphasic”) deteriorations.

Severe anaphylaxis was found to be associated with older age, lung disease, and drug causation. These severe reactions presented as either hypotensive (low blood pressure), hypoxemic (low levels of oxygen in the blood), or a combination of both. All of the mediators that were measured were associated with severity, and one group (MCT, histamine, IL-6, IL-10 and TNFRI) was also associated with delayed deteriorations. These results suggest that multiple inflammatory pathways drive reaction severity. Low PAF-AH activity (the enzyme that degrades an important mediator, PAF) was also associated with severe reactions, confirming the findings of a previous study suggesting that patients with low levels of this enzyme are more susceptible to severe anaphylaxis. Delayed deteriorations requiring treatment with epinephrine occur in <10% of patients, and were associated with pre-existing lung disease and initially severe reactions. They probably represented a protracted inflammatory process intrinsically linked with initial reaction severity that may be masked by initial treatment with epinephrine. The study's findings supported current recommendations for safe observation periods after initial treatment. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

Important numbers for diabetes: 3 things to prevent complications

By Kathleen Blanchard RN G+ March 7, 2013 – 10:53pm for eMaxHealth
Diabetes Care
3 important numbers for diabetics.


Google +




If you are dealing with diabetes, there are 3 important numbers that studies show can help prevent complications. Dealing with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can seem complicated, but if you understand 3 important numbers that can prevent complications, it makes things much easier.

You already know it’s important to stay active, watch your weight and food portions and focus on specific food groups. But, there’s an underlying reasons related to diabetic complications for combining diet and lifestyle choices to manage diabetes.

It all boils down to blood pressure management, ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and keeping your hemoglobin A1C number less than 7.0. Your own doctor may want the number to be even lower.

Blood pressure guidelines for diabetes
Diabetes can take a toll on the kidneys, so protecting them from damage typically meant making sure your blood pressure is less than 130 systolic, which is the top number.

Hypertension can cause kidney damage and raise heart disease risk, especially in the presence of diabetes. Eye disease is also an increased risk when blood pressure is too high.

But in December, 2012, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) relaxed the guidelines a bit, based on evidence that showing systolic blood pressure that is too low could cause more harm than good.

Now, 140 for the top or systolic number is acceptable. Your doctor may tell you differently, based on your individual health status, making it important to comply with any medications, continue to follow a low salt diet and get plenty of exercise, even if it’s just stretching to keep your blood vessels healthy and flexible.

If you have a blood pressure monitor at home, keep track of your readings and share at your doctor’s visit. A benefit of the lower guidelines, according to the researchers, is lower medical bills from fewer medications.

Blood sugar levels
A hemoglobin A1C level that is performed every three months if you’re sugars are poorly controlled tells your doctor how well you’ve been doing over a 3-month period.

Studies show if you keep your sugar controlled over a long period of time, you can lower your risk of diabetes complications.

If your sugar runs high occasionally, don’t fret. It’s more important to understand the overall picture. If your doctor isn’t discussing your hemoglobin A1C level, ask for details so you can keep track of your progress.

Know your cholesterol numbers
It’s not enough to just know your total cholesterol if you’re dealing with diabetes. You want to talk to your doctor about the dangerous type known as LDL cholesterol. It’s also important to know your triglyceride and ‘god’ or HDL number

Too much LDL cholesterol that is a waxy substance can deposit in the walls of the arteries, causing blockage to blood flow. High levels can lead to plaque and interrupted blood flow anywhere in the body; not just the heart.

People with diabetes already have a disadvantage because risk for heart problems is the same as someone who has already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

What that mean is it’s important to strive to keep your LDL cholesterol numbers lower than non-diabetics – generally at or below 70 mg/dL.

Triglycerides – the main form of fat in the bloodstream – should be less than 100 mg/dL. Higher levels can also cause hardening of the arteries and plaque buildup.

If your HDL level is less than 40 you might have a higher risk of heart complications from diabetes. Conversely, a level of 60 or above is considered protective.

Lowering diabetes complications is easier when you have specific targets. Diet, exercise, medication compliance and keeping your weight normal are mainstays of managing the disease. Knowing these 3 important numbers reflect how well you’re doing with your overall health status. Keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and hemoglobin A1C levels normal can lower your risks for diabetes complications.

MedLine Plus
“New Diabetes Guidelines May Lower Patient Medical Bills”
December, 2012