Edited by Lor777, Charmed, Eng, Marian Raquel F. Roncesvalles and 1 other
Do you wake up sneezing, having throbbing headaches, and stuffy nose? If this happens almost predictably at every waking hour or all throughout the day and seem to not be alleviated by regular medicine for colds then you could be suffering from sinusitis. Many people have this medical condition for a long time and yet are not fully aware that they have it as this would appear to be just regular cold or flu bouts. The only difference would be that they come on stronger, have persistent symptoms, and seem to linger on for a much extended period than usual.
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses or pertaining to the four pairs of empty chambers in the facial bones around the nose and eyes which is primarily caused by certain viral, bacterial, or fungal infections as well as allergies. This medical condition breeds havoc to roughly around 31 million individuals in the United States alone and is prevalent to myriad of people across the globe regardless of age, gender, race, and status quo.
What is Sinusitis?
The perils of sinusitis is largely apparent to millions of people who are experiencing its agonizing and vindictive lashes for weeks or can even go on for years. Sinusitis is referred to as an infection or inflammation of the surrounding sinuses which is triggered by varied congenital, environmental, and lifestyle factors; as well as aggravated by certain medical conditions.
The sinuses pertain to the small air sacs that function primarily to filter the air and rid it off foreign agents or microbes that pass through the nasal passages. It also moderates the water content and temperature that passes through the respiratory system. The size of the sinuses vary from one person to another and it grows accordingly to complement an individual's skull structure over time. This takes charge of mucus production which help moisten the air that enters the nose and trap stubborn bacteria and viruses before it breeds destruction in the entire body. The sinuses work in tandem with the cilia or the hairlike structures that brushes off allergens or varied pathogens away from the nasal passages. More so, these hollow sinus cavities serve as a jelly-like cushion or buffer that lightens the skull which makes it dense. This also provides insulation to the nearby facial structures such as the eyes and surrounding nerves. This is also regarded as a vital chamber for proper vocal phonation, resonation, and speech.
There comes a time that its very robust mucus production can turn against its very purpose which becomes a liability to the body's overall health and function. The sinuses can excessively produce mucus in its effort to fight off foreign invaders or germs that enter the nasal passages. This overproduction of mucus goes boomerang and consequently blocks the air-filled spaces that lines the nasal passages which becomes an attractive breeding ground for viruses and bacteria which then precipitates sinus infections.
Paranasal sinuses come in pairs and are classified into the following sets:
- Frontal Sinuses - These are the sinuses found behind the forehead or the frontal bone right above the eyes.
- Maxillary Sinuses - This is coined to be the largest sinus amongst all 4 paranasal sinuses which categorically explains why maxillary sinusitis is also the most common type of sinus infection. This can be found on the cheekbone area (right above the teeth and sides of the nose).
- Ethmoid Sinuses - This is relatively found near the nose bridge and in between the eyes. Infection that occurs in the ethmoid sinuses can trigger spread of infection in surrounding sinuses. This is also considered as a vital part in correcting or treating infectious growth on other sinuses as all of these drain right through or next to the ethmoid sinuses.
- Sphenoid Sinuses - This is particularly located near the pituitary bone or on the sides of the eyes and right above the nasopharyngeal region.
The extent of sinus infection can be further determined with these types:
- Acute Sinusitis - This type of sinus infection lasts for a few days or weeks but does not exceed 30 days. It does not require any medication or antibiotic treatment as the symptoms dissipate on its own after a few days. Also, if your sinus infection go past the 4-week duration and last for up to 12 weeks or so and is recurring at regular intervals, then this could be categorized as a subacute sinusitis which may require some treatment. Acute sinus infections are common and people usually contract this twice a year but it is relatively short-lived and goes away naturally without any treatment.
- Chronic Sinusitis - Most chronic sinus infections start out as acute sinusitis which gets aggravated by a number of trigger factors. This is easily differentiated from acute sinusitis because this typically lasts longer than 13 weeks, deliberately persistent, and is described to be of bacterial origin in contrast to acute sinusitis which is of viral nature. The symptoms of chronic sinusitis can be relieved by certain treatments and medications which includes antibiotics.
Causes and Risk Factors of Sinusitis
Sinusitis is one of the most common diseases that people tend to pick up at some point in their lives. Yes, you can get it as often as the common cold or flu because sinusitis is interlinked with myriad of typical illnesses that a person gets quite intermittently in his lifetime. Even though this is said to be rarely contagious yet its prevalence, scope, and repercussions are unthinkable, serious, debilitating, and real.Knowing the common causes and risk factors surrounding sinusitis will help you map out necessary lifestyle modifications. Here are some of them:
- 1Age.They also have much lowered defense systems in combating variety of infections such as sinusitis. Babies or younger children are also prone to varied respiratory illnesses such as bouts of cold, cough, and flue due to immature immune systems but recorded cases of sinus infections are relatively rare in children below 9 years of age.Advertisement
- 2Other Associated Medical Illnesses.In addition, the presence of cancerous growths or tumors that can block the sinuses can also induce sinus infections.Other medical diseases that can potentially trigger or aggravate sinusitis symptoms consist of the following:Advertisement
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Kartagener's Syndrome
- 3Environmental and Industrial Factors.Pollution that comes from industrial chemical wastes and smoke belching from vehicles are the most common sources of environmental pollutants that does tremendous damage on man's health and natural resources. Sudden changes in altitude or air pressure can trigger sinusitis as well which makes swimmers and hikers more prone to getting this condition.
- 6Hospitalization and Trauma.For one, these patients have much weaker immune systems and are thus prone to sinus infections and the use of medical apparatus such as ventilators or respiratory tubes inserted in the nose can further worsen or cause sinusitis. Also, people who have had facial or head trauma
Symptoms of Sinusitis
The signs and symptoms of sinus infections vary depending on the type of sinusitis a person has or if there are other medical complications linked to the illness which can exacerbate symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms observed in patients dealing with sinusitis:
- Tenderness and swelling over the sinus area involved.
- Pain around the eyes or cheeks.
- Problems breathing through your nose.
- Insides of the nose appear red and swollen.
- Yellowish, grayish, or greenish nasal discharge.
- General feeling of illness or malaise.
- Fever may or may not be present.
- Halitosis or bad breath.
- Persistent coughing may be imminent.
- Sense of taste and smell may be diminished or affected.
- Toothache or any dental pain may be felt.
- Excessive tiredness or fatigue.
How to Treat Sinusitis
- 1Use saline drops or sprays to help promote nasal drainage.Ask your doctor to recommend OTC saline drops that you can use for your condition.
- 2Indulge in regular steam baths and massage.This opens up the nasal passages which relieves pain and inflammation of the sinuses. More so, this is also a relaxing way to pamper yourself after a long day.
- 3Stay indoors during extremely cold or dry weather conditions.Keep rooms at an even temperature.
- 4Maintain proper hydration.Drink lots of fluids or water of up to eight glasses per day or as recommended by physician.
- 5Eat a well-balanced diet.You can keep your body fit and healthy and the sinus clog-free with an exciting diet plan composed of fruits and vegetables; plus whole grains to ensure adequate hydration and nutrition.
- 6Use nasal sprays sparingly or for a limited time only.OTC nasal sprays such as phenylephrine 0.25% may be effective, but these are not recommended to be used for more than three consecutive days.
- 7Over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants.This is proven to help open the nasal passages and cause drainage of the sinuses.
- 8Hot and cold compresses.This is applied to the forehead and cheeks in order to aid sinus drainage.
- 9Increasing home humidity.Using a cool mist vaporizer or humidifier may help prevent blockage of sinuses.Advertisement
Anyone with a history of recurring sinusitis should seek expert advice and treatment from a rhinologist or ENT physician at the first sign of a cold or other respiratory tract infection or when they experience any allergic reaction. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat chronic sinusitis or sinusitis caused by a bacterial infection. On rare occasions or as a last recourse, surgical repair of the sinus may be necessary.
Tips Tricks & Warnings
- Call your doctor NOW if you suspect sinusitis and have diabetes or a condition that suppresses the immune system.
- Call your doctor if you have symptoms of sinusitis and develop fever and chills.
- Call your doctor if you don't have any improvement after two to three days of antibiotics and you have been diagnosed with acute sinusitis.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
Categories : Physical Health
Recent edits by: Marian Raquel F. Roncesvalles, Eng, Charmed