Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Sinusitis

Sinusitis Can Be Serious

Sinusitis Can Be Serious

Due to the many varieties of sinusitis and an overlap in symptoms, diagnosis can be complex and you should look for a doctor who specializes in the sinuses. The most common form of sinusitis is acute sinusitis, affecting roughly 90% of adults who report having suffered from the condition at one point or another throughout their lives.

Generally, the main symptoms of sinusitis are a runny or severely congested nose paired with pain and pressure in your head and face. A yellow or green drainage or drip from your nose or down the back of your throat, called “postnasal discharge”, may also be present.

Symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • A headache.
  • Halitosis (or bad breath)
  • Coughing, often resulting in the presence of mucus
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Toothaches
  • Dulled sense of smell or taste
  • Purulent nasal discharge
  • Facial pain
  • Facial pressure
  • Severe nasal congestion

Areas of Paranasal Sinusitis

Sinusitis

Sinusitis

Each paranasal sinus  will have its own distinct symptoms when it becomes infected. Therefore, the exact area where you have pain or tenderness will let you know which sinus is affected. It is important that you understand the different symptoms below for a specific sinusitis location.

  • Maxillary sinusitis 

    – symptoms include feelings of pain or pressure in the cheek (maxillary) area. These symptoms often manifest themselves as toothaches or headache. Typically, maxillary sinusitis is the result of dental problems, as many who are diagnosed share a trait of close proximity of the teeth and the sinus floor. To be sure, doctors will perform radiology techniques to examine further and determine whether or not your sinusitis is of the maxillary type.

  • Frontal sinusitis 

    – symptoms include pain or pressure directly behind or above the eyes (frontal sinus cavity). The pain will manifest itself typically as a sharp headache.

  • Ethmoid sinusitis

    – symptoms include pain or pressure behind or between the eye area, manifested also as a sharp headache

  • Sphenoid sinusitis 

    – symptoms include pain or pressure in the top part (called the “vertex”) or in the back of the head.

It is also important to note that many medical professionals see sinusitis as directly linked to asthma, since sinusitis often affects the respiratory tract. When the sinus inflammation symptoms begin, the airways of the sinus cavity are blocked, meaning that the typical amount of air you are used to breathing has been sharply reduced, causing shortness of breath and irritation of a pre-existing asthmatic condition. This inflammation of the airway also triggers additional symptoms, typically in the form of a cough.

If you feel like you have experienced these same symptoms either in the past, or currently, it is recommended that you seek medical treatment. Your doctor will perform a physical exam, and also possibly an x-ray, or CT scan. Your doctor could also perform a direct sinus visualization or a culture via an endoscope (a small fiberoptic camera that is inserted into the nose) to identify which areas of the sinus are affected so as to create a tailored treatment plan to your needs.

RECAP! Quick Sinusitis Facts

  • Every year, Americans experience approximately 37 million cases of sinusitis
  • In the United States, sinusitis is the number one most-reported chronic condition and is ranked 5th in the most-reported reason for taking an antibiotic.
  • Americans visit the doctor 13 million times per year to seek treatment for sinusitis
  • Allergies, a common cause of sinusitis, affects more Americans across the country than ever, attributed chiefly to the rise of modern-day pollution in the air and at home.
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