Sinusitis refers to an inflammation of sinuses.
Sinuses are the air-filled cavities of the facial bone and skull, lined by a mucus producing membrane called mucosa.
The mucosa cells lining the sinuses have tiny hair called cilia, which normally sweep the mucus into the nose through tiny openings called ostia, a way for the mucous to slide down from the back of the throat to the stomach.
This mucus helps moisten the sinuses, clean the nose by trapping dust, germs and other airborne particles and slides down from the back of the throat to the stomach, where the stomach acids destroys the mucus and associated bacteria.
Normally, the healthy sinuses will be more sterile with no bacteria or other micro organisms and remains open allowing a very little amount of mucus to drain from sinuses into the nose and also allow the air to circulate in and out.
However, when the inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis) sets in, due to common cold or an allergy sinus, the mucosa cells lining produces bounteous mucus fluid and the ostia get obstructed by swollen mucous membranes causing the mucus to be accumulated in the sinuses.
The sinuses then become blocked with mucus. Thus, the normal flow of the mucus from the sinuses to the back of the throat interrupts.
The mucus in the sinuses allows bacteria and fungi to reside and grow, which then infects the sinuses causing a sinus infection called sinusitis.
The sinusitis is more common in women than men. It affects people of all ages (both children and adults). It is found that, in the United States, approximately thirty-seven million people develop sinusitis each year.
The sinusitis can be of any type: acute, sub-acute or chronic.
An acute sinusitis refers to bacterial infection of the one or more sinuses. There are four pairs of different sinuses: Frontal sinuses (located on the forehead), Ethmoid sinuses (either side of the bridge of the nose), Maxillary sinuses (behind the cheekbones) and Sphenoid sinuses (behind the nose).
Acute sinusitis normally begins as a common cold that in turn results as a bacterial infection. Acute sinusitis is fairly common that it occurs in three out of every thousand people diagnosed with sinusitis every year.
The infection usually develops quickly, lasts for a very short time (less than one month) and goes away on its own with little or no treatment. It generally develops from a cold or flu-like disease.
Sub-Acute sinusitis refers to the natural development of acute sinusitis that hasn’t resolved. This type of sinusitis persists longer than four weeks, but less than twelve weeks.
Chronic sinusitis is the most common and extreme level of sinusitis, which can develop from severe conditions of acute sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is less common than acute sinusitis and sub-acute sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis develops with less severe symptoms than acute sinusitis, but can result in damage of the tissues of the sinuses. This sinusitis usually lasts for three to eight weeks but can persist for months or even years and may also re-occur.
Identify your sinus type for appropriate treatment and proper care.