Another common cause of nasal congestion is enlargement of the nasal turbinates. These are normal outgrowths or skin folds on the inside of the nasal cavity that warm, humidify and regulate nasal airflow of inspired air on both sides of the nose. The turbinates are made up of an outer mucosal lining that covers a thin bone that attaches to the outer nasal cavity. The inferior turbinate is the largest and most influential turbinate on nasal congestion. Underneath its lining are multiple blood filled spaces that can engorge when inflamed, infected or exposed to environmental irritants. When frequently inflamed over time, the underlying bone can change from thin bone to a much thicker obstructive bone. The chronic enlargement of the turbinates is called inferior turbinate hypertrophy.
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