Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus cavities. It is usually associated with infection. The sinus cavities are air-filled spaces in the skull.
Acute sinusitis lasts for less than three weeks. Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when symptoms last for at least three months. You may have recurrent sinusitis if you have repeated bouts of acute sinusitis.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Reducing Your Risk of Sinusitis
Treatments for Sinusitis
Talking to Your Doctor About Sinusitis
Symptoms of Sinusitis
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Allergy Asthma Information Association
Calgary Allergy Network
Fact sheet: allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, and rhinosinusitis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/rhinitis.cfm . Accessed June 22, 2008.
Mandell GL, Douglas RG, et al. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases . 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone, Inc; 2000.
Medical Center of McKinney. So long, sinusitis. Medical Center of McKinney website. Available at: http://medicalcenterofmckinney.com/your-health/?/11554/Sinusitis . Published May 26, 2010. Accessed June 10, 2010.
Medications for sinusitis. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary . Updated September 2009. Accessed December 11, 2009.
Okuyemi KS, Tsue TT. Radiologic imaging in the management of sinusitis. Am Fam Physician . 2002;66:1882-1886.
Rakel RE, Bope ET. Conn's Current Therapy 2001 . 53rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2001.
Scheid DC, Hamm RM. Acute bacterial rhinosinusitis in adults. Am Fam Physician . 2004;70:1685-1692:1697-1704.
Sinus infection (sinusitis). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/sinusitis/Pages/index.aspx . Accessed June 22, 2008.
Sinusitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Accessed November 10, 2007.
Stewart AE, Vaughan WC. Balloon sinuplasty versus surgical management of chronic rhinosinusitis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep . 2010;10(3):181-187.
1/10/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Williamson IG, Rumsby K, Benge S, et al. Antibiotics and topical nasal steroid for treatment of acute maxillary sinusitis: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA . 2007;298:2487-2496.
12/11/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Zalmanovici A, Yaphe J. Intranasal steroids for acute sinusitis.
Sinusitis affects 37 million people each year (1,2), making it one of the most common health problems in the U.S. It is more prevalent than heart disease and asthma and has a greater impact on quality of life than chronic back pain or congestive heart failure. (3)
When you have acute or chronic sinusitis, the mucous membranes of your nose, sinuses and throat become inflamed, possibly from a pre-existing cold or allergies. Swelling obstructs the sinus openings and prevents normal mucus drainage, causing mucus and pressure to build up. Symptoms include: drainage of a thick, yellow or greenish discharge from the nose or 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.
Types of Sinusitis
Depending on the duration of the symptoms, it can be classified into one of several types:
Acute (less than 4 weeks)
Subacute (4-12 weeks)
Chronic (more than 12 weeks)
If you experience 4 or more episodes of acute sinusitis per year, you could have Recurrent Acute Rhinosinusitis.
Chronic Sinusitis Symptoms
A Look into the Sinuses
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 – this drainage is essential to keeping your sinuses working well and you healthy. Anything that obstructs that flow may cause a buildup of mucus and lead to a sinus infection.
Facts About Sinusitis
Sinusitis affects approximately 14% of the adult U.S. population. (4)
Sinusitis affects 17% of women and 10% of men each year. (4)
Chronic sinusitis (not including acute sinusitis) results annually in an estimated 7 million physician office visits. (1,5)
Direct healthcare expenditures due to sinusitis costs are well over $8 billion each year. (6)
Total restricted activity days due to sinusitis are over 58 million per year. (6)
At least 20% of chronic sinusitis patients are not successfully treated with medical therapy. When medical management methods are not enough to relieve patients’ symptoms, sinus surgery may be recommended. (7)
Sinusitis treatment includes medical and natural therapy, as well as sinus surgery. An Ear, Nose and Throat doctor (ENT doctor) can diagnose acute or chronic sinusitis and determine the best treatment plan.
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