Also known in the more recent medical arenas as rhinosinusitis or simply as a sinus infection, sinusitis is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, which are the nasal passages or the hollow spaces connecting airways in the skull and face. The development of sinusitis may be cause by infections brought on by invading bacteria, fungi and viruses. However, sinusitis may also be the consequence of allergies or a variety of autoimmune problems such as diabetes, AIDS and leukemia.
Some medical researchers believe that sinusitis is actually an aspect of other respiratory diseases or medical complaints rather than a condition that stands on its own (for example, head colds, asthma, the flue, pneumonia and so on).
Classifications of Sinusitis and their Symptoms
Human sinuses come in four pairs and the various classifications of sinusitis are determined by the anatomical locations of these dual cavities as follows:
Maxillary sinusitis affects the cheek area and causes pain and pressure which are often translated into toothaches and headaches. Maxillary sinusitis can also be described as a facial ache.
Frontal sinusitis affects the frontal sinuses which results in pain and pressure behind and above the eyes and the forehead.
Ethmoid sinusitis results in pain and pressure between and behind the eyes and the nose. Ethmoid sinusitis is often accompanied by a frontal headache.
Sphenoid sinusitis usually causes pain and pressure behind the eyes but the actual area that is affected is the topmost surface of the head which is known as the vertex.
While sinusitis can also be classified by its duration, severity of the condition is not an issue of classifications because the symptoms tend to be quite indistinguishable and those may include pain and pressure around the forehead, the eyes, the cheeks, the nose and the side of the head; a cough, congestion and stuffiness or a runny nose with dense and discolored (yellow, green or brown) discharge; fever; and bad breath.
When the symptoms of sinusitis last for less than four weeks it is considered acute sinusitis. However, when the symptoms last between four and twelve weeks it is said to be subacute sinusitis, and when symptoms last for over 12 weeks it is classified as chronic sinusitis.
Causes of Sinusitis
The sinuses perform a number of biological functions and among them is the function of guarding against the attack of harmful foreign organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites), foreign particles (allergens) or pollutants. When such defensive functions are weakened due to one reason or another, these foreign entities may enter to attack the lining tissue of the sinuses and cause sinusitis.
There is a wide range of treatments that are supremely effective in relieving the symptoms of sinusitis and those may include consuming plenty of water and hot tea to prevent dehydration; inhaling steam two to four time a day to soften mucus and relieve congestion; blowing the nose gently to help clear it; and taking over-the-counter medication to thin the mucus (expectorants), antihistamines, as well as medications that reduce fever while also reducing pain, inflammation, swelling and fever.
Bacterial sinusitis tends to be most severe and it usually requires medical intervention and antibiotic drugs along with oral and / or nasal decongestants and even steroids.