Do You Have Sinusitis?

Do you suffer from colds and allergy attacks that just won’t go away? It is possible that this could be a medical condition known as Sinusitis. Experts estimate that 37 million people are afflicted with sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health conditions in America.

This figure is only an estimation because the symptoms of bacterial sinusitis often mimic those of colds or allergies, and many sufferers never see a doctor for proper diagnosis or treatment.

Acute Sinusitis

Acute bacterial sinusitis is an infection of the sinus cavities caused by bacteria. It usually begins with a cold, an allergy attack, or an irritation by environmental pollutants. The difference between colds or allergies and bacterial sinusitis is that the latter requires a physician’s diagnosis and treatment with an antibiotic to cure the infection and prevent future complications.

Normally, mucus collecting in the sinuses drains into the nasal passages. When you have a cold or allergy attack, your sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain. This can lead to congestion and infection. Diagnosis of acute sinusitis is usually based on a physical examination and a discussion of your symptoms. Your doctor also may use x-rays of your sinuses or obtain a sample of your nasal discharge to test for bacteria.

Chronic Sinusitis

If have been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, intensive antibiotic therapy may be prescribed for you. Surgery is also sometimes necessary to remove physical obstructions that may contribute to sinusitis.

Acute vs. Chronic

If your sinus infections are frequent or last more than three months, it could be chronic sinusitis. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be less severe than those of acute; however, untreated chronic sinusitis can cause damage to the sinuses and facial bone structure that may require surgery to repair.

Sinusitis is caused by a blockage of bacteria and mucus in the sinus cavities.  This infection begins usually when a person has a cold or allergy which causes inflammation of the sinus cavity lining which becomes more inflamed when bacteria get into the sinus cavities and attack the swollen lining.  The amount of swelling that occurs causes the cilia to no longer flush out the trapped bacteria and mucus, and the sinusitis infection begins. 

When the sinusitis infection lasts for less than twelve weeks it is acute sinusitis.  Some of the symptoms of acute sinusitis are cough, congestion, and postnasal drip.  The maxillary sinuses are located in the area below the eyes and above the teeth.  Additional problems that a person may experience with maxillary sinusitis are upper teeth pain, pressure below the eyes, and facial pain.

There are many treatments for maxillary sinusitis along with other forms of sinusitis whether they are acute or chronic.  A frequently used treatment is prescribed or over the counter nasal sprays.  Nasal sprays cannot cure the sinusitis infection due to their large particle size not being able to make it past the swelling at the opening of the cavities and up to the infection, though they may offer relief to the lower part of the sinuses. 

Another often-used treatment is oral antibiotics.  Oral antibiotics work by flowing through the blood stream to the infected area.  One of the problems with oral antibiotics in sinusitis infections are that there are only a small amount of blood vessels in the sinus cavities, so it is difficult for an effective amount of medication to be delivered to the sinusitis infection.