According to statistics, approximately 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, or the inflammation of sinuses, every year and more than 15 billion doctor’s appointments have been made in relation to that. With that, adults suffering from the condition may miss their work at least four days annually. This clearly shows that the disease is affecting people’s daily lives and sinusitis is indeed a huge problem.
But what is sinusitis really and how does it affect the human health?
Sinusitis is in fact the inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the sinuses or the air spaces of the bones of the skull. Enlarged adenoids, nasal deformities such as deviated septum, polyps and occupational exposure to extreme temperatures place people at a higher risk to this type of inflammation.
So answer “What is sinusitis”, you need to know about the particular body part affected. The sinus or sinuses are hollows inside the bones and other anatomical structures. The term is usually applied to the sinuses connected with the nose by narrow passages and lined with mucous membrane.
What Is Sinusitis? A Closer Look
There are four parts that contribute to sinusitis, namely: frontal sinus located
above the eyebrows, maxillary sinus located in the upper jaw bones, ethmoid sinus located deep behind the nose and sphenoid sinus located behind the eyes and nose. These have three useful functions:
- By reducing weight of bones, maintain balance of weight between the heavy skull and lighter neck
- By secretion of mucus and the wavy motion of their lining hairs, they block dust and germs form entering the throat and breathing passages
- By giving resonance to the voice and heighten and broaden the vocal tones for speakers and singers
What Is Sinusitis And What Are The Various Types And Symptoms?
Previously, what sinusitis is has been explained as well as the use of sinuses. However, understanding the answer to “what is sinusitis”, as well as its types and symptoms are also essential.
The sinuses become defenseless against pollens that can cause hay fever and the viruses of colds and influenza that complicates sinusitis. This also affects the frontal sinuses which cause headaches, eye discomforts and dizziness. However, there are other symptoms that a person with sinusitis experience which is divided into two.
First is minor that include: bad breath, clicking in ears, dental pain, ear pain, fatigue, fever, headache and persistent coughs. While the major symptoms include: congested nasal passages, facial pain, facial pressure, fever, loss of sense of smell, pus in the nose, sneezing and thick colored post-nasal drainage.
Moreover, there are various types of sinusitis. First is chronic or mild sinusitis which is caused by an allergic reaction to dusts and polluted air. The symptoms last more than eight weeks. Second is acute sinusitis which is caused by an infected upper respiratory infection that lasts at least four weeks. Since the germs have spread in the sinuses, extreme nose-blowing complicates the inflammation causing influenza and measles.
Third is sub-acute sinusitis which lasts between four to eight weeks. When an acute sinusitis has not been resolved or treated immediately, it leads to this wherein a different kind of therapy is needed. The symptoms are less severe but may include nasal congestion.
The last type is recurrent sinusitis. From the name itself, it means several attacks occur within a year. This is due to untreated chronic sinusitis, consistent acute sinusitis or caused by a new infection from a different bacteria. The symptoms worsen after five days and may last up to 10 days. Other case of this type is due to emotional stress or engaging in activities such as diving without using any protection like nose plugs.
What Is Sinusitis And Its Treatment And Prevention?
Knowing what sinusitis is, as well as the types and symptoms should start with seekim. In fact, if sinusitis is not treated immediately it may cause more infections that affect the ears, eyes, throat, brain and the bones. The infection in the brain leads to meningitis while infections in the bones lead to osteomyelitis. Therefore, it is essential to set a doctor’s appointment right away.
To properly diagnose sinusitis, the physician will need to review the symptoms. A patient must be honest and relate all the symptoms he or she experienced. A physical examination will also be made and a recommendation is given. Further tests should be undergone such as allergy testing, CT scan, nasal endoscopy and X-rays.
In mild cases, nose drops are usually prescribed to treat the infected membranes promoting proper drainage. However, these treatments should not be used for a long period. Doing so will cause side effects causing more damage to one’s health. So make sure to follow the doctor’s orders regarding the dosage and period. In addition, aspirins and antibiotics should be taken to alleviate headaches and avoid another infection.
Moreover, treatments for other types of sinusitis are quite different. For instance, bed rest for a certain period is recommended for acute attacks. The doctor may recommend decongestants and antibiotics given for 10 up to 14 days. Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, interferes with the normal functioning of sinuses and requires periodic irrigation. Surgery in the sinus openings is also necessary. Warm compresses can be used to relieve pain while antibiotics or oral steroids can also be taken.
Furthermore, to keep sinusitis from worsening, a patient must seek a physician’s help immediately. Delayed diagnosis and treatment may result to discomfort and pain affecting daily activities. As mentioned earlier, untreated sinusitis may lead to complications such as meningitis and osteomyelitis. It is indeed essential to undergo treatments as early as possible.
But to prevent undergoing any treatment, avoiding infection, types and symptoms, a healthy lifestyle is a must. First, do not smoke. Second, drink lots of fluids especially water. Third, increase fish, fruits and vegetable intake. Lastly, exercise regularly.
However, infection is inevitable. Just in case one does not feel well, immediately treat allergies or colds before it gets worse. In public areas, avoid contact with people by covering the nose and mouth with a handkerchief. Upon arriving at the destination, wash the hands with soap or use a sanitizer. When allergy attacks, ask a doctor about allergy shots or other immediate treatments one can use.