ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Special Considerations for Senior Citizens with Rhinitis

When the elderly have chronic rhinitis, the most common complaints, health-wise, include:


  • Feeling of nasal obstruction
  • Crusting on the nose, especially during cold winter
  • Constant need for throat clearing
  • Feeling of vague pressure on the face
  • Reduced sense of taste and smell from the blocked nose


For the most part, the symptoms of rhinitis or sinusitis among seniors are the same as in younger populations. But because of their age, ENT doctors must consider the special considerations that affect seniors with rhinitis.


Special Considerations


As the body ages, the physiology of the nose changes and, in the process, so does its function. The changes include lengthening of the nose resulting in the nasal tip beginning to droop, which is also partly due to the weakening of its surrounding cartilage. Even this change can cause adverse effects including the restriction in airflow in and out of the nose (i.e., nasal airflow).


The narrowing down of the nasal valve region also promotes nasal obstruction resulting in geriatric sinusitis. The nasal valve region, by the way, is the area where the lower and upper cartilages meet.


But it isn’t just aging that cause chronic rhinitis in seniors. Doctors also consider the possibility of allergens being the source of the symptoms, as is the case when the symptoms include water eyes, repeated sneezing, and nasal obstruction combined with watery, runny nose. In this case, it’s allergic rhinitis.


Yet another possible cause for chronic sinusitis in geriatric patients is osteoporosis, a bone condition characterized by bone loss. In many women with osteoporosis, doctors prescribe a nasal calcitonin spray as an alternative to estrogen; the prolonged use of estrogen, especially in post-menopausal women, can have adverse health effects.


But the use of nasal calcitonin spray isn’t without its side effects. These can even be initially mistaken as signs of chronic sinusitis, no thanks to symptoms like nasal crust, redness, irritation, headache, and nosebleeds. If you’re using said product, you should inform your doctor so that appropriate measures can be made regarding your treatment.


Your ENT doctor will consider an individualized treatment for your case for many reasons. You will likely have a slower metabolism and take multiple drugs, for one thing, so drug interactions are more likely.  You may also have underlying medical conditions that preclude the use of certain drugs, even surgery to correct your sinusitis.


For more details of your ENT diseases, please contact your ENT doctor or HK ENT Specialist.



HK ENT Specialist

offering ENT services,

Hearing aids prescription,

Swallowing disorder assessment and treatment,

Head and Neck Oncology,

Sleep disordered breathing Management,

and Facial Plastic Surgery, etc.


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