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When I started seeing an ENT doctor years ago for my sinus problems, I bought a couple of books on the subject of sinusitis. When I mentioned this to my doctor and asked him a couple of questions that showed a bit more knowledge on the subject than most people, he frowned and had a worried expression on his face. He then commented that having only “a little knowledge was dangerous”. So I appreciated Dr. Josephson’s comments in his new book “Sinus Relief Now: The Innovative 5-Step Program for People With Sinus, Allergies, and Asthma.” He stated, “If your doctor responds negatively to your new knowledge or is obviously uncomfortable working with a patient who is well-informed about your disease, that’s another clear sign that it’s time to move on” (and find another doctor). I wish I would have had this advice at the time as the doctor finally did my first sinus surgery, it caused me immense pain and did not improve my situation at all.

It is worth mentioning at this point that Dr. Josephson is a well-known and well-respected ear, nose and throat surgeon. He has been on New York magazine’s “Best Doctors” list several times. He has been an expert commentator on many local and national television shows, and is the director of the New York Nasal and Sinus Center. Personally, I think this book should be part of the home library of anyone suffering from what Dr. Josephson calls CAID, or Chronic Digestive Inflammatory Airway Disease.

In the US alone, this includes about 70 million people who suffer from sinusitis, asthma, allergies, GERD and LRPD reflux disease, as well as sleep problems like snoring and sleep apnea. Dr. Josephson believes that all of these problems may be related for the simple reason that they are all associated with parts of the body that are directly connected to one another in the upper and lower digestive and respiratory systems. This is an interesting concept and is explained clearly and in detail in the first few chapters of the book. Dr. Josephson discusses the symptoms of all of these diseases and then offers a CAID test, which helps the reader understand which branch of CAID is causing their problems. It explains the symptoms and possible treatment options in great detail for the various “limbs” of CAID, sinus disease, allergies, asthma, GERD and LPRD, and sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea.

One point is made clear throughout the book: Like high blood pressure, sinus disease cannot be “cured” in the sense of going away once and for all, but only controlled. But with this awareness and knowledge about one’s problem, it is possible to control these health problems, and one can improve one’s life and not be forced to “just live with it.”

There are a number of things that I was pleased to see in “Sinus Relief Now”:

1. Dr. Josephson also suffers from sinusitis. He’s had sinus surgery, uses the therapies he recommends, and “knows the feel.” Reading the book, I got the feeling that this person had been through some of the same pain that I had.

2. Dr. Josephson strongly emphasizes the use of nasal irrigation. He uses a sinus irrigation device every day, as do I. He also talks about using a neti pot for sinus irrigation, but I’ve used both and find the irrigator much more effective. Personally, I wouldn’t even recommend the neti pot method.

3. Dr. Josephson is a surgeon and advocates a very conservative approach to turbinates. In the past, many surgeons routinely removed parts or even most of people’s turbines. In recent years it is becoming clear that this can have disastrous effects on patients over time, and there are plenty of horror stories to read on the ENS Association website forum. ENS stands for Empty Nose Syndrome, which is the term coined for this condition.

4. Dr. Josephson says that smokers with CAID problems should simply quit. However, it does have some appreciation for the difficulty of quitting smoking and offers some guidelines for that as well.

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