A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop sinusitis with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing sinusitis. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for sinusitis include the following:
Smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke increases your risk of developing sinusitis.
Certain Medical Conditions
The following medical conditions increase your chances of getting sinusitis:
- A recent cold
- Medication, such as prolonged use of decongestant sprays
- Nasal obstruction due to:
- Deviated septum
- Facial bone abnormalities
- Swollen adenoids
- Cleft palate
- Certain chronic illnesses, including:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Kartagener’s syndrome (a disorder of the cilia throughout the body)
- Wegener's granulomatosis
- Immobile cila syndrome
- Head injury or a medical condition requiring a tube inserted in the nose
In general, elderly people and young people have a higher risk of developing respiratory tract infections , including sinusitis.
Women have a greater chance of developing sinusitis than men.
Whites and blacks have a higher risk of developing sinusitis than do Hispanics.
- Traveling to high altitudes
- Air pollution
- Living in the Midwest or southern United States
Flying and diving both increase your chance of getting sinusitis.
Rakel RE, Bope ET.
Conn’s Current Therapy.54th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2002.
Sinus infection (sinusitis). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at:
. Accessed September 12, 2008.
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