Inhale, Exhale: Managing Sinusitis

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Suffering from a recurring clogged nose and headache? Chances are you have chronic sinusitis. This condition can cause discomfort for years, resulting in a lot of disturbed periods of sleep and frequent throbbing headaches.

Roughly 12% of adults in the U.S. population was diagnosed with chronic sinusitis in 2015, and approximately $8 billion is spent annually on managing the disease. If you feel that you have sinusitis, it’s best to consult an ENT doctor to have your problem checked. This allows you to avoid further serious implications.

Although it’s never a good idea to do a self-diagnosis, it can be helpful to have an initial idea on the disease. In line with that, here’s a comprehensive discussion on chronic sinusitis:

What Exactly is this Disease?

Sinusitis or chronic sinusitis develops from a series of recurrent inflamed sinuses. This can be acquired through a number of inflammatory agents such as bacteria and fungi.

These trigger agents find their way up the nose and into the pocket membranes rooted within the skull. Aside from having congested sinuses, individuals suffering from sinusitis endure a number of symptoms such as disturbed sleep, coughing, popping ears, fatigue, dizziness, toothache, and even a compromised sense of smell.

Many people experience acute sinusitis, in which the sinus tissues become briefly inflamed. Denver Health reports that sinusitis is classified as acute if it only lasts for less than a month. Accordingly, it’s considered subacute if it endures for four to 12 weeks. This condition is commonly triggered in the cold months or in people with certain allergies, due to exposure to some allergens.

Commonly, the symptoms will fade as the body’s immune system gain an adequate defense. But, for some, that initial symptoms severely swell the sinus walls, clogging off all exits of the nose and throat. This allows the formation of mucus, bacteria, and pus that are trapped inside, consequently leading to a prolonged response of the body’s immune system. In addition, if conditions persist for more than three months, it’s considered chronic and will require serious medications and treatment, probably a sinuplasty in Denver.

Here are the other symptoms that you need to be mindful of:

  • Nasal inflammation
  • Ear pain
  • Thick, discolored discharge from the nose
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Bad breath
  • Pain, tenderness, and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead
  • Fatigue

When to See a Doctor

doctor checking woman's nose

Prevention is better than cure. If you have been experiencing the following, it is best to schedule an appointment with your ENT physician.

  • Recurring sinusitis that doesn’t respond to or gets better with oral treatment
  • Symptoms persist or start to worsen for more than 10 days

If you observe increased frequency or severity in the symptoms, and experience a fever, itchy and swollen eyes, headache and stiff neck, see a doctor immediately.

The Complications

Serious complications of chronic sinusitis are rare, but may include:

  • Vision problems. If your sinus infection spreads to your eye socket, it can cause reduced vision or blindness that may either be temporary or permanent.  In order to prevent this, a sinuplasty may be an option for treatment.

How to Prevent It

Here are simple ways to reduce your risk of developing sinusitis:

  • Avoid getting common infections. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before meals. Use face masks for protection from common colds.
  • Control your allergies.  Avoid exposing yourself to substances you’re allergic to.
  • Avoid smoking. Cigarette smoke and air pollution can cause irritants and inflame your lungs and nasal passages.
  • Use a humidifier. If the air in your home is dry, adding moisture to the air may help prevent sinusitis. Be sure to keep the humidifier clean and free of mold with a regular, thorough cleaning.

Sinusitis can make even regular, mundane tasks seem hard due to the inconvenience that it causes. It’s therefore highly important that you manage the symptoms properly so you can minimize its effect on your daily life.

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