Sinusitis is a very common problem that affects the cavities, or empty spaces, around your nose and eyes. The reason people have sinuses is unclear. Most professionals believe they serve to reduce the weight of the skull while humidifying the air you breathe.
A diagnosis of sinusitis means the nasal passages that line these cavities become inflamed, usually due to infection or growths called polyps. In some cases, the irritation is related to a physical defect such as a deviated nasal septum.
Anyone can contract this inflammation, but it tends to affect adults more than children. Risk factors include:
You may also be at risk for sinusitis if you have an immune system disorder that puts you at risk for infections such as AIDS.
The four primary symptoms of sinusitis include:
There may be other symptoms, as well, especially if the condition is chronic or goes untreated. Patients with sinusitis might experience ear pain, for example, or develop an ache in the jawbone. Sinusitis is often accompanied by bad breath, fatigue, and a sore throat. You might develop a persistent cough that gets worse at night.
The treatment will vary based on factors such as the underlying cause of the inflammation. The goal is to reduce swelling and open up your passages regardless of what’s causing the condition. This usually means sinus nasal irrigation and possibly treatment with corticosteroids -- oral, nasal, or injected. For some people, surgery is recommended to remodel the bone around the cavities to prevent further sinus difficulties.
Dr. List will exam your nose and face and possibly order imaging to confirm the diagnosis. If he suspects an infection, he’ll order a culture to pinpoint the microorganism involved to provide a more accurate treatment plan.
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