The Many Signs And Causes of Sinusitis

By: Rakhi Kaptiyal

The term sinusitis, in its broad form, refers to an infection in the sinus cavities brought on by blockage of the sinus cavities and nasal passages.

The word “sinus” refers to the sinus cavities present in the human skull. These symmetric pairs of air filled cavities are located at various locations and classified accordingly. These classifications are:

• Maxillary – The biggest of all the sinus cavities, maxillary sinuses are located underneath the eyes.

• Frontal – Located at the junction of the nose and the eyes, frontal sinuses are covered by the frontal bone forming the forehead.

• Ethmoid – These sinuses are formed by several different air cells found in the gap between the eyes and the nose, located within the ethmoid bone.

• Sphenoid – These sinuses are located at the center of the pituitary gland in the sphenoid bone.

All these cavities are lined with a soft epithelial tissue lining. The function of the sinus cavities is to moisten the air inhaled via nose and regulate its temperature before it is sent into the lungs. However, this lining is also prone to becoming inflamed and swelling up due to various triggers like:

• The common cold

• Allergic reactions

• Nasal polyps

• Trauma

• Deviated septum

Any of these triggers may cause the sinus tissue lining to swell up and block the nasal and sinus drainage passages. This leads to the accumulation of mucus within the cavities, leading to the first tell-tale sign of the onset of sinusitis, the dull throbbing headache accompanying the overwhelming sensation of heaviness in the forehead, which seems to get extremely aggravated with any sudden movement of the head.

This accumulation of mucus also leads to the breeding of infection-causing bacteria, viruses and fungi. Apart from the facial heaviness, these pathogens result in the full blown onset of sinusitis with symptoms, which include:

• Facial pain – Dull throbbing ache around the forehead and eyes

• Facial swelling – The accumulation of mucus leads to swelling around the eyes

• Congestion – Hampered breathing from the nose

• Discharge – Yellowish-green mucus continuously secreting from nasal passages

• Olfactory impedance – The patient’s sense of smell is greatly reduced

• Taste impedance – Patients also lose a significant amount of their tasting senses

• Coughing – Nasal and probable tracheal congestion make this extremely common

• Fever – Bacterial and viral infections also cause a rise in body temperature

• Bad breath – Halitosis is also a common complaint among sinusitis sufferers

• Fatigue – Impaired breathing lowers the body’s oxygen levels, causing fatigue

• Dental pain – Facial swelling exerts pressure on the gums and teeth as well

If you feel some combination of these symptoms coming on, then have your ENT specialist perform a diagnosis and confirm whether you have sinusitis and then start an appropriate treatment accordingly.

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