Sinusitis Condition and Symptoms

Sinusitis is a serious medical condition that afflicts an estimated 35 million Americans annually and that can cause persistent and intense congestion, headaches and nasal problems. The sinuses are hollow spaces in the skull (i.e. the frontal, ethmoid, sphenoid and maxillary) which serve to lighten the skull and give resonance to the voice. The purpose of the sinuses, which open into the nasal cavity, is to generate mucus to keep the nose from drying out during breathing and to trap unwanted materials so that they do not reach the lungs. Each sinus has an opening that allows mucus to drain. These openings are essential in keeping your sinuses functioning properly and in some cases, smaller openings or blockages cause a buildup of mucus and lead to a sinus infection.

Inflammation and swelling of the sinus tissue can lead to blockage of air passages and the beginning of sinusitis, causing rising levels of germs and fluid and a greater likelihood of infection. Sinus blockage can be traced to several different factors, including colds, a deviated septum and nasal polyps. Sinusitis is also prominent among those with allergies and those who smoke, who suffer from immune system disorders, or who otherwise have naturally narrowed sinus ducts.

Sinusitis can take various forms that feature cold-like conditions, including acute sinusitis (often occurring for a few weeks), chronic or subacute sinus inflammation (potentially lasting 12 weeks), or recurrent sinusitis (which happens a few times annually). These types of the condition are characterized by the drainage of a thick, yellowish or greenish discharge from the nose down the back of the throat; nasal obstruction or congestion; tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead and/or a reduced sense of smell and taste. Sinusitis sufferers may also experience fevers, coughs, runny or stuffed-up noses, bad breath, and fatigue. Unfortunately, many patients may misdiagnose their conditions as allergies or colds, which is why it’s particularly important to see a balloon sinuplasty expert like Dr. David J. Congdon to determine the proper diagnosis.

The Cost of Sinusitis

In addition to affecting the lives of those suffering with the condition, sinusitis has a dramatic overall effect nationwide, driving up medical costs, causing missed workdays, and limiting the effectiveness of non-surgical treatments for many patients. These far-reaching effects of sinusitis include:

  • Approximately 14% of the adult U.S. population suffers from sinusitis, with 17% of women and 10% of men annually experiencing the condition.
  • Each year, seven million office visits are held to treat just chronic sinusitis (not including acute sinusitis).
  • More than $8 billion in direct health-care expenditures relating to sinusitis occur annually.
  • Sinusitis causes over 58 million in restricted activity days per year.
  • Unfortunately, around 60% of patients are not successfully treated with sinus medication.

Treatment Options for Sinusitis

Several treatment options for sinusitis exist, depending on the type of sinusitis you are afflicted with. For patients with acute sinusitis, saline nasal sprays, antibiotics, nasal steroid sprays, decongestants and over-the-counter pain relievers may be appropriate initial treatment steps that can provide adequate relief for less-severe cases of sinusitis. Allergy sufferers can also try to avoid the factor(s) that trigger sinusitis. However, for many patients with acute and chronic sinusitis, the most-effective remedy is balloon sinuplasty surgery, a noninvasive procedure that provides long-term relief from sinusitis. Click here to learn more about how this revolutionary treatment can provide you with improved, healthier breathing.