In the United States, chronic sinusitis is one of the most common chronic diseases that affect around 33 million individuals each year.
Sinusitis is a bacterial infection that causes the lining of one or more of your sinus cavities in your face to swell. You may experience pain in your cheekbones and around your eyes. With sinusitis, the symptoms are normally gone within four weeks. However, if your symptoms have lasted over 12 weeks or you keep being attacked with sinusitis symptoms you may have chronic sinusitis.
Major symptoms of chronic sinusitis include pressure or pain in your forehead, nose, around or behind your eyes, cheekbones, and temples, trouble breathing through your nose, a reduced sense of smell, and a thick yellowish green drainage in your nose and the back of the throat. You do not have to have every one of these symptoms to have chronic sinusitis, just one or two will raise the question.
These minor symptoms are also a sign of chronic sinusitis and if you have at least one of these symptoms coupled with at least two of the above major symptoms then more than likely you have chronic sinusitis. The minor symptoms include pain in your teeth and upper jaw area, headache, ear pain or even pain behind the ear, tiredness, cough, and bad breath.
To understand the causes of any type of sinusitis you must first understand how the sinus cavities work. Your sinuses are the hollow spaces that are found in the bones of your face such as your cheekbones and in your forehead. Your sinuses aid in humidifying and warming the air that you breathe, help with your sense of smell and improve the sound of your own voice. They also have another important job. They make mucus. Mucus cleans and moisturizes your nasal passages. There are small hairs inside your sinus cavities that move this mucus to your nose and throat through tiny openings called ostia. When these small openings become blocked, the mucus has no place to go and is trapped inside your sinuses.
If your sinuses cannot drain, bacteria, viruses, and fungi can develop causing infection. Infection makes the sinus cavities swell which in turn makes it even harder for your sinuses to drain.
The common causes of these sinus blockages that lead to chronic sinusitis include respiratory tract infections, allergies, and fungi.
Respiratory infections and allergies have similar symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose. When the nasal passages cannot drain, the mucus is trapped in the sinus cavities, thus the beginning of the problem, which can lead to chronic sinusitis.
Fungi can also be a leading cause of chronic sinusitis however, it is known by anther name, allergic fungal sinusitis. The symptoms begin just as cold or an allergy attack.