Chronic Sinusitis: Do You Know if You Have It?

Talking to a doctor

Sinus problems affect more than 37 million Americans today. While worrying over pulmonary and cardiac illness preoccupy people more, we must be more aware of the number of people diagnosed with chronic sinusitis and how it affects them. The condition can be painful and affects all aspects of a person’s life.

Chronic Sinusitis in the Spotlight

When the inflammation of the sinuses does not seem to let up, an ear, nose, and throat doctor near your Denver home is likely to give a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis. The sinuses are pockets within the human skull, roughly located in the forehead, the nose, and the cheeks. They are lined with a membrane that become inflamed from viral, bacterial or fungal agents.

When the mucus within the sinuses fails to drain into the nose, a chronic condition starts to unfold. Continuous production of mucus from the presence of triggers leads to a pool of mucus that has nowhere to go. This medium makes it easier for the usually harmless bacteria in the passages to multiply and elicit an inflammatory response. The congested matter is composed of mucus, white blood cells, and microorganisms.

Symptoms of Sinusitis

symptoms of sinusitis

When you lose your sense of smell, start coughing, and notice your ears pop, the sniffing may not be a sign of a common cold. Apart from these symptoms and a stuffed nose, sinusitis leads to dizziness, fatigue, facial pain, and disturbance in sleep patterns. Acute sinusitis mimics cold, and the symptoms abate when the immune system is successful at containing the infective agent. When the mucus and inflamed sinus membranes perpetuate beyond a period of three months, an acute condition becomes a chronic case.

The Triggers of Infection

Unfortunately, people already suffering from allergic rhinitis are prone to developing sinusitis. Allergies often arise with sinus inflammation, which makes the symptoms even more unbearable for sufferers. Avoiding triggers is a must, and the use of antihistamines further lowers the inflammation. People without allergies notice their sinus problems compounding when they catch a cold, which is due to a virus. It has already been mentioned that bacterial growth is a trigger for sinusitis as well, but this pathophysiology is the least commonly seen.


Typically, the common cold resolves in 15 days. If the infection does not decrease by then, you might be dealing with a bacterial infection. Bacterial infection responds with drugs, but the viral infection would wind itself down without any help from antibiotics. The usual reaction to an infection is to take antibiotics in the hope of a quick and complete respite from symptoms.

If you are suffering from chronic sinusitis, you already know that antibiotics do not make you better. It’s best not to self-medicate to cope with sinusitis. Instead, consult an EENT specialist for a targeted treatment approach.

Chronic sinusitis affects about 12% of American adults. Sinus blockage results in grave symptoms that affect work and productivity. Your comfort is compromised as well when the nasal passages are clogged; after all, you must breathe through the nose. Before you start with a bout of over-the-counter antibiotics, consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Do not wait for your symptoms to worsen.

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