10 Dec 2020

What are sinuses?
Sinuses are air filled spaces in the skull bone, surrounding the eyes and nasal cavity.  They are lined by mucus producing glands and drain into the nasal cavities through narrow openings called ostia.  There are four sinuses - maxillary {cheek}, Frontal {forehead}, ethmoid {between the eyes} and sphenoid {back of the nose}

What is sinusitis?
Inflammation of the sinus lining is called sinusitis.  This occurs due to infection {viral, bacterial or fungal}, allergies or exposure to irritant chemicals.

What is acute sinusitis?
When symptoms last for less than 3 months it is called acute sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is a temporary infection of the sinuses often associated with a cold and might be associated with fever

What is chronic sinusitis?
Chronic sinusitis occurs when lining of the sinuses are swollen and inflamed for three months or longer, despite treatment.This condition interferes with the way mucus secreted in the sinuses normally drain, People suffering usually complain of a stuffy nose, pain around the eyes, tenderness around the nose and forehead and feel as if these regions are swollen.
The signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis last at least 12 weeks, people suffering may have several episodes of acute sinusitis before developing chronic sinusitis. Fever is unusual presentation in chronic sinusitis,
Chronic sinusitis can be brought on by an infection, by growths in the sinuses (nasal polyps) or swelling of the lining of your sinuses. Also called chronic rhinosinusitis, the condition can affect both adults and children.

Common signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis include:
Inflammation of the nasal cavity -

  • Thick, discolored nasal secretions.
  • Phlegm dripping into the back of the throat (postnasal drip)
  • Nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Decreased sense of smell and taste

Chronic sinusitis may also cause other symptoms:

  • Ear pain
  • Pain in your upper jaw and teeth
  • Cough or need to clear the throat frequently
  • Sore throat
  • Halitosis or Bad breath
  • Fatigue or tiredness

When to see a Sinus specialist?
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if:
You've had sinusitis a number of times, and the condition doesn't respond to treatment
You have sinusitis symptoms that last more than 10 days
Your symptoms don't improve after you see your doctorSee a doctor immediately if you have the following signs or symptoms, which could indicate a serious infection:
-Swelling  and or redness around your eyes
-Severe headache
-Swelling over forehead
-Double vision or other vision changes
-Stiff neck

Common causes of chronic sinusitis include:
Nasal polyps - These tissue growths can block the nasal passages or sinuses.
Deviated nasal septum. A crooked septum — the wall between the nostrils — may restrict or block sinus passages, making the symptoms of sinusitis worse.
coexisting medical conditions- uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, cystic fibrosis, HIV and other immune system-related diseases can lead to nasal blockage.
Respiratory tract infections.
AllergiesWhat are the Risk factors associated with developing chronic sinusitis
You're at increased risk of getting chronic sinusitis if you have:
A deviated septum
Nasal polyps
Aspirin sensitivity
A dental infection
An immune system disorder such as HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, post transplantation, post chemotherapy, poorly controlled diabetes mellitus,
Allergic rhinitis and other allergies
Regular exposure to pollutants such as cigarette smoke

What Complications can occur from sinusitis?
Serious complications of chronic sinusitis complications are rare, but may include:
Vision problems. If your sinus infection spreads to your eye socket, it can cause reduced vision or possibly blindness that can be permanent.
Infections- repeated infections can at times lead to permanent loss of smell.  If an infection is aggressive and spreads through the skull base into the cranial cavity can cause life threatening complications such as meningitis [brain fever]

Take these steps to reduce your risk of getting chronic sinusitis:Avoid upper respiratory infections. Minimize contact with people who have colds. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before meals.  Use a mask during the flu season.
Manage your allergies. Work with your doctor to keep symptoms under control. Avoid exposure to things you're allergic to whenever possible.
Avoid cigarette smoke and polluted air. Tobacco smoke and air contaminants can irritate and inflame your lungs and nasal passages.
Frequent steam inhalation, humidifiers [in dry climates], nasal and sinus rinse with normal saline help.

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