When you have sinusitis and polyps in your nose, asthma, and a sensitivity to aspirin, this condition is referred to by doctors as Samter’s triad, or aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease. The mechanism of how aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease develops is not fully understood by the medical community. Most physicians and medical researchers believe that those three changes develop in your nose because of an abnormality in the arachidonic acid cascade. This cascade causes a person to develop an abnormal amount of leukotrienes. These chemicals are involved in the body’s inflammation response. Taking aspirin blocks the body’s ability to produce prostaglandin, which enhances the production level of leukotrienes. As a result, a severe allergic type of response is elicited by your body.
Symptoms of Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease
Most people with aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease are aware that they have this sensitivity. The aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease symptoms can begin slowly over time as you take aspirin for pain relief. Each person’s symptoms can range in severity and may progressively get worse as aspirin is used. The mild symptoms of aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease include having a runny or congested nose, sneezing, and nasal itching.
Complications of Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease
In some patients, the aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease symptoms can be severe. A person might have a full-on asthma attack. Urticaria, or hives, can also develop because of severe aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease. Less commonly, anaphylaxis results from aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease. Most people with aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease will have a similar reaction if they take other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. If you have nasal polyps as well as severe asthma, but you have never used aspirin or ibuprofen, it may be a good idea to avoid those pain relief medications.
Many patients with aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease need to have aggressive medical treatments. These may include taking more medications for the asthma and multiple surgeries in order to remove the nasal polyps. There are other anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal medications that could be used if you have aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease, but these medicines tend to have more side effects. The benefits of taking an anti-inflammatory drug must be carefully weighed against the possible side effects, especially when it comes to long-term use. A treatment program for aspirin desensitization might be effective for severe cases of aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease. This method of treatment is performed by purposely exposing a patient to increasing doses of oral aspirin. Because there is a risk for serious complications, this therapy should only be performed under a doctor’s care and in a controlled environment. The benefits of aspirin desensitization therapy are usually greater than the risks. They include reduced asthma and sinusitis symptoms and a lower need for taking asthma medications. Aspirin desensitization may also reduce the need for you to have repeated nasal polyp surgeries.