Sinusitis (Rhinosinusitis) is the inflammation of the lining membrane of any one or more of the four sets of paranasal sinuses, which include the frontal, ethmoid, maxillary and sphenoid sinuses. The inflammation may or may not be the result of infection from fungal, bacterial, viral, allergic or autoimmune issues.
How many kinds of sinusitis are there?
Sinusitis is subdivided into the classifications of: acute sinusitis, with symptoms lasting greater than three weeks, sub-acute sinusitis, with symptoms lasting three weeks to three months and chronic sinusitis, with symptoms lasting greater than three months.
It is estimated by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that more than 37 million Americans are affected by some degree of sinusitis every year.
What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
There are many symptoms related to sinusitis, typically the symptoms of sinusitis include: sinus congestion, sinus discharge, sinus pressure, facial pain, and headaches.
Anatomical causes for sinusitis include:
Because deviated septums, abnormal turbinates, concha bullosa, and nasal polyps each cause blockage of the nasal pathways, they all affect normal clearing of the sinuses which result in the individual experiencing this condition being more prone to sinus infection.
Pregnancy / Hormonal changes:
Exposure to Children:
Inflammatory and Infectious Causes
Allergic Fungal Sinusitis (AFS):
Invasive Fungal Rhinosinusitis (IFR):
Tumors that develop in the sinuses are a rare cause of sinusitis which can cause obstructions within the nasal passages.
What types of prevention can be done?
What are the complications of sinusitis?
Sinusitis, when properly managed, rarely has complications. However, untreated sinusitis can become problematic due to the close proximity of the nasal passages to the brain and the eyes. In some circumstances, sinus infections can travel to other regions of the head and cause life-threatening infections. Some of the complications that may occur due to unresolved chronic sinusitis include:
Intracranial Complication:The frontal, ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses are separated from the cavity surrounding the brain by a layer of bone, if the infection passes through the bone it may infect tissue and cause fluid that lines the brain causing meningitis. In more severe cases, the infection can spread to the brain itself causing even more severe complications.
Orbital Complications:The frontal, maxillary, ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses rest immediately above, below, between and behind the eyes. Untreated sinus infections may spread to the orbital region of the eye causing a wide spectrum of complications from mild inflammation of the eyelid to abscesses that can affect vision.
Vascular Complications:The carotid artery and cavernous sinus are two large vascular structures that border the sphenoid sinus. Infections that occur within these regions may lead to complications of the blood vessels including blood clots or aneurysms;
Asthma:Many patients suffer simultaneously from both chronic sinusitis and asthma, in many instances resolving the sinus issue results in a dramatic improvement of the asthma;
Loss of Smell and Taste:Sinusitis can affect the senses of smell and taste, which may be temporary or permanent depending on the nature of the sinusitis.
What are the symptoms for children?
Many of the symptoms of childhood sinusitis are similar to those of the common cold. When symptoms last longer than seven-to-ten days there is a possibility that the child may have sinusitis. The common symptoms of childhood sinusitis include:
What is the treatment for sinusitis?
A specialized professional, preferably an otolaryngologist with extensive sinus experience, is necessary to evaluate and diagnose the causes of chronic or acute sinusitis. It is important to not only deal with the current bout of sinusitis, but to take steps to reduce the chances of the sinusitis recurring in the future, which require analysis of the likely contributing factors.
The sinus-specialty otolaryngologists of The Sinus Institute at CEI have over 35 years of experience treating sinusitis in all of its forms using both medical treatments and cutting edge surgery options. Click here to make an appointment.