Sinusitis – Causes And Symptoms
Sinusitis is an inflammatory disease that occurs in the lining of the cranial sinuses. Sinuses are cavities in the thickness of the jaw, frontal, ethmoid or sphenoid bones, lined with a mucous membrane like the nasal cavity. They communicate with the nose through small channels, the name of the sinuses correspond to bone location: maxillary sinus, frontal sinus, ethmoid sinus and sphenoidal sinus. The role of the sinuses is to warm, filter and humidify the inspired air, and act as a resonance box for sounds that are produced by the vocal cords. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of the sinuses.
Bacterial or viral infections of the nasal mucosa can block the sinus openings therefore sinuses can not drain properly. Secretions accumulates in the sinuses and creates favorable conditions for the development of micro-organisms like bacteria or fungi with the occurrence of infection and pus. Clinically, the patient feels purulent collections in the sinuses as a sensation of pressure in the face.
Sinusitis can be acute or chronic. Besides this classification they are also named after affected bone: frontal sinusitis, maxillary, sphenoid and ethmoid.
Causes of Sinusitis
The most common causes of sinusitis are upper airway infections (especially the common cold), adenoid enlargement, allergies, deviated septum, dental abcesses. Recurrent infections of the nasal mucosa and nasal allergies can also be the cause of sinusitis. In allergic diseases, repeated inflammation of the sinuses and nasal mucosa can lead to chronic sinusitis so as exposure to cold, active or passive smoking and inhalation of irritants for a long time. Anatomical changes that lead to narrowing of the nasal cavity, preventing therefore a good drainage of mucus secretions (septal deviation, trauma that leads to changes in the anatomy of normal nasal cavities) can lead to sinusitis
Another common cause is inhalation of cocaine, which causes necrosis (cell death), with loss of sensitory nasal functions (loss of smell). Other causes can be represented by various diseases that lead to a decrease in immune system function like chronic infection (chronic hepatitis, HIV) or cancer.
Symptoms and signs of sinusitis
The patient has a sensation of pain or pressure in the sinuses, which he describes as being around his eyes, behind or above the eyebrow or at top of teeth. Abundant secretions, purulent, yellow or green can also be present. The patient shows a malaise, may also present mild fever. The patient complains of odor reduction or in some cases, senses bad smells that are not perceived by other people (the smell comes from his own sinuses).
Other sinusitis symptoms
- Coughing during the day (cough is worse at night) due to the secretion drainage from the sinuses
- Puffy eyes, especially in the morning
- Bad breath
- Reduced sense of taste and smell
- Permanent state of fatigue