How do you know if you're suffering from sinusitis? Just answer the following questions: When you wake up in the mornings, do you often feel lousy because your head feels heavy and this feeling persists throughout the day? Do you often suffer from cold accompanied by headaches and feel tired?
Do you also suffer from cough and throat infections accompanied by the cold? And does your symptoms of cold don't cease to exist inspite of taking medications? If your answer is yes to even two out of the above four questions, then you might be suffering from sinusitis.
What is it?
"Sinusitis is a swelling of the inner lining of the sinuses. The sinuses are the spaces between the bones in the face where air passes and where a fluid called mucus drains into the nose.Sinusitis is quite common. It feels much like a head cold, with a stuffy or runny nose and a headache," says Dr N Khousla, ENT specialist. Sinusitis is quite common. It feels much like a head cold, with a stuffy or runny nose and a headache.
ENT surgeon, Dr Samir K Bhargava says, "Sinusitis can be of two types i.e. acute sinusitis which lasts for less than four weeks and chronic sinusitis which lasts much longer, for more than eight weeks."
Sinuses are the moist air spaces within the bones of the face around the nose. These cavities are also known as paranasal sinuses and include: v Frontal sinuses that are located in the area near the eyebrows. v Maxillary sinuses that are located inside the cheekbones. v Ethmoid sinuses that located are between the eyes. v Sphenoid sinuses that are located behind the ethmoids in the upper region of the nose and behind the eyes.
Causes: Many reasons like viral infections, air pollution, smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke, and allergies are just some of the elements that increase your chance of having sinusitis, says Dr Khousla. Sometimes when temperature and humidity in the atmosphere increase or change rapidly, it can cause irritation in the sinuses. People who have a weak immune system are more prone to sinusitis.
Also some people tend to have narrow sinus openings and because of this, when there is swelling, it becomes difficult for air to pass through. Fungus that is microscopic in nature when inhaled in the air or consumed via food can not only weaken the immune system of the body but also aggravate sinusitis.
Effects on health: Sinusitis mostly affects Vision and Nose. Due to the location of the maxillary sinuses, your vision can become extremely damaged if they become overloaded with fluids.
The mucous membrane moistens the nasal passages all day and secretes the mucus discharge which washes the lining and collects all the foreign particles and micro organisms trapped inside the nasal hairs. The cilia, which are delicate, slender projections of the lining in the nasal chambers constantly move and push the mucus into the throat, where the final objective is to send it to the stomach where, needless to say the harmful substances are destroyed by acids, says Dr Khousla.
Treatment: Dr. Sanjiv Badhwar, ENT, head and neck surgeon, says, "Treatment involves examination, diagnostic nasal endoscopy and occasionally CT scans. In most cases, it involves a course of broad spectrum antibiotics, anti-allergic medication, nasal sprays where indicated. In patients who have recurrent or chronic complaints, surgical intervention is offered which involves endoscopic, minimally invasive surgery."
Dr Bhargava says that for acute sinusitis, the patient needs antibiotics with nasal drops and steam inhalation along with Decongestant tablets and analgesics (pain killers). A treatment called Balloon Sinuplasty is now available, meant for chronic sinusitis and headaches where a balloon along with endoscope is used to widen narrow openings without regular surgical procedure.
The writer is a freelancer
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