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Chronic nasal congestion is the continuous swelling of tissues inside the nose due to enlarged blood vessels. It is usually associated with severe allergies. Chronic nasal congestion has many causes, ranging from allergies to something as serious as chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Unlike congestion caused by the common cold, chronic nasal congestion can last for many years, and even with treatment may never disappear. Symptoms include trouble breathing through the nose, snoring, fatigue, headaches and hearing problems.
A seasonal allergy, often referred to as вЂњhay fever,вЂќ is the reaction that occurs in a subject who is hypersensitive to pollen, grasses or trees. People are typically afflicted by hay fever in the spring, when the winter snows melt and reveal rotted wood and mold, leaves, grass and pollen. Often, simple nasal decongestants available at any pharmacy relieve these symptoms.
Ongoing allergies are caused by hypersensitive reactions to usually harmless substances, which can include pollen, pet dander, certain vegetables, drugs or insect stings. Reactions vary from mild to severe. Symptoms include allergic conjunctivitis (itchy, watering eyes), runny nose and nasal congestion. People who suffer from allergies may also have asthma, which can cause breathing problems. Allergy shots and nasal decongestant pills can relieve some allergic reactions.
Chronic rhinosinusitus is an inflammatory disease of the nasal lining and sinuses. It can cause sleep apnea, respiratory problems and reduced taste and smell. Most doctors suspect CRS starts with allergic rhinitis, because it is often related to hypersensitivity to allergens. A major cause of CRS could be an allergen a person is exposed to daily, such as a food or pet dander. CRS also often causes anosmia, the temporary or permanent absence of smell, which also affects taste.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Although rare, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can be a serious cause of chronic nasal congestion. Most people don't experience any symptoms before being diagnosed with CLL. However, people who have symptoms experience inflamed lymph nodes, fatigue and frequent infections, including sinusitis. CLL is a cancer that attacks the bone marrow and blood, commonly afflicting men over the age of 50. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the most unlikely cause of chronic nasal congestion, but it can affect some people. HIV can often imitate other diseases, such as influenza, with symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, fever and body rash. However, these flu-like symptoms often disappear. If you feel that you are susceptible to HIV and are experiencing any of the symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately.