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Sinusitis is among the most commonly diagnosed conditions across the world. In fact a lot of researchers have raised concern that it might be being over-diagnosed. The main reason for this is that the clinical presentation of sinusitis can mimic some other commonly found conditions, lasts for as short a few days to months on end and may not always be recognizable through microbial cultures.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an inflammatory condition which affects one or more paranasal sinuses. It is classified as acute, sub acute or chronic depending upon the duration of the symptoms. There is also a class known as recurrent sinusitis in which the patient suffers from multiple episodes (three or more) of acute sinusitis within a year.
Our sinuses are normally filled with air, but become filled with mucus and micro-organisms during bouts of sinusitis. There is a lining within the sinuses which is responsible for mucus production and this performs important functions like lubrication and immune protection under normal circumstances. Once inflamed, however this lining goes into over drive and starts producing more mucus than can be naturally cleared from the sinuses leading to a blockage of the sinuses and providing a favorable atmosphere for the micro organisms to thrive in. This is what leads to the various symptoms associated with sinusitis.
Symptoms Of Sinusitis
1. Pain: A characteristic dull kind of pain around the areas of the nose, eyes and even teeth is seen in sinusitis. The location of this pain corresponds with the anatomic location of the sinuses. A history of sinus pain should be told to the dentist so that it is taken into account while arriving to a diagnosis for dental pain.
2. Discharge: The over production of mucus leads to a constant discharge from the sinuses. This can either flow through the nose, causing you to blow it in an attempt to clear it often, or it can flow down the back of your throat. This is called as a post nasal drip and causes a feeling of discomfort, coughing and even apnea during sleeping.
3. Pressure: The sinuses which are normally empty are filled with mucus. This leads to feeling of heaviness and pressure. Some of the things that you might notice are pain on moving your head suddenly, a feeling of tiredness by the end of the day and a deep sleep which seems to be immediate in onset.
4. Congestion: Since your sinuses will be clogged with mucus, patients often find it difficult to breathe through their nose. It also affects their sense of smell and taste over a period of time.
5. Cough: This is due to the mucus dripping down the back of the patient’s throat. It is usually more severe during the night since the head position is laid back, however coughing fits are seen during the day time as well.
6. Bad breath: The mucus that is constantly flowing down the back of the throat and into the oral cavity can lead to a bad odor from the mouth. There is also a change in the normal microflora seen in the mouth from one associated with health to one associated with bad breath and periodontal disease.