What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the para nasal sinuses. It can be acute (going on less than three weeks) or chronic (going on more than three weeks). Sinusitis is one of the most common complications of the common cold. Symptoms include: snoring, headache, facial pain, nasal obstruction and general fatigue.
The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull. Normally, they are lined with a thin layer of mucus that traps dust, germs and other airborne particles. Tiny hairs in the sinuses called cilia sweep the mucus (and whatever is trapped in it) towards opening in the top of the sinuses called ostia. The ostia lead to the back of the throat where mucous slides down to the stomach. This continual process is a normal function of the body.
Factors which may predispose you to developing sinusitis include allergies, as well as structural problems of the nose such as a deviated septum and nasal polyps.
When sinusitis develops, the normal flow of mucous from the sinuses to the back of the throat is interrupted. The ostia become blocked by swollen mucous membranes causing mucous to be trapped in the sinuses. This trapped mucous makes the perfect home for bacteria and fungi that normally get swept down the throat and digested in the stomach. PEOPLE WITH ANATOMICAL DEFECTS THAT BLOCK THE OSTIA, SUCH AS A DEVIATED SEPTUM OR NASAL POLYPS, OFTEN SUFFER FROM CHRONIC SINUSITIS.
SOME PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC RHINITIS CAN DEVELOP A TYPE OF CHRONIC SINUSITUS THAT DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE CAUSED BY INFECTION.
- NASAL STUFFINESS OR CONGESTION
- TENDERNESS OF THE FACE (particularly under the eyes or at the bridge of the nose)
- PRESSURE HEADACHES
- PAIN IN TEETH
Sinusitis is often confused with rhinitis, a term used for the symptoms that accompany nasal inflammation and irritation. The symptoms of rhinitis and sinusitis can be very similar. Although rhinitis only directly involves the nasal passages, the nasal congestion can cause facial pain and the post-nasal drip and cough. Underlying conditions like allergies or structural abnormalities can cause chronic sinusitis and/or rhinitis, or can produce symptoms that mimic sinusitis A computed tomography (CT) scan can determine if the sinuses are actually involved.
Sinusitis occurs when the mucous lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed. Anything that blocks the entry of the air into the sinuses can result in inflammation: bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, allergies, polyps, or a deviated septum. It is a common condition - according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, sinusitis affects 37 million people in the United States.
Self-help measures include simple painkillers over-the-counter decongestants as well as nasal dilators .
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