Learning About Chronic Sinusitis

hronic sinusitis is also known as chronic rhinosinusitis. It is a common condition that occurs when the cavities around the sinuses become swollen and inflamed. Chronic sinusitis disrupts the normal nasal drainage and causes an accumulation of mucus in the sinuses. This can make it very difficult to breathe through your nose properly. The condition may also cause your face and eyes to feel puffy and swollen, which may also be associated with pain and a headache.  

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What causes chronic sinusitis? Chronic sinusitis is usually caused by an infection. However, it may also be caused by growths in the sinuses, also known as nasal polyps, or by a deviated nasal septum. The condition is most common among young and middle-aged adults. Children may develop chronic sinusitis as well.

Sinusitis may be chronic sinusitis or acute. Both chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis have similar signs and symptoms. However, acute sinusitis is only temporary and is usually associated with a cold. In order to diagnose chronic sinusitis, a person must have at least two of the following signs and symptoms: drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat, nasal obstruction or congestion, causing difficulty breathing through your nose, pain, tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead, or a reduced sense of smell and taste. Other signs and symptoms may include ear pain, aching in your upper jaw and teeth, cough, which may be worse at night, sore throat, bad breath (aka halitosis), fatigue or irritability, or nausea.

The signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis are similar to those of acute sinusitis. The only difference is that the signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis last longer and often cause more significant fatigue. Also, fever is not a common sign of chronic sinusitis, but it is of acute sinusitis.

The most common causes of chronic sinusitis include:

·         Allergies: i.e. hay fever. Inflammation that occurs with allergies may block your sinuses.

·         Respiratory tract infections: Most commonly colds, which can inflame and thicken your sinus membranes, block mucus drainage and create environments ideal for bacterial growth.

·         Deviated nasal septum: This may restrict or block sinus passages.

·         Nasal polyps: These may block the nasal passages or sinuses.

·         Immune system cells: With certain health conditions, immune cells called eosinophils can cause sinus inflammation.

·         Allergic reactions: Allergic triggers include fungal infection of the sinuses.

·         Facial trauma: A fractured or broken facial bone may cause obstruction of the sinus passages.

·         Other medical conditions: The complications of cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux, or HIV and other immune system-related diseases may result in nasal blockage.