Common Sinus Problems

Common Sinus Problems
Image: Freepik

If there’s one thing that can turn a productive, blissful day into one filled with discomfort and inflamed, runny nostrils, it’s dealing with a sinus problem. Whether it’s a common cold, genetic condition or structural damage, battling nose-related ailments is never an exciting experience.

With that said, what are the most common sinus problems that target our internal nose structures? If you’ve ever gone through an entire box of tissues in a day and wondered what happened, or worse, felt debilitated by pre-existing sinus conditions, here’s what you need to know about the nose — no pun intended!

Acute Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis is an overly-verbose medical terminology used to describe an inflamed sinus cavity, which is most inaccurately described as “having a cold.” While these two issues have numerous similarities, acute sinusitis is when the delicate mechanisms of the sinuses become filled with thick liquid, pushing against the skin surrounding the under-eye region, inner nasal passage and upper cheek.

On the other hand, a common cold is a viral-based infection that negatively impacts the upper respiratory system. If your throat or lungs are scratchy, fluid-filled or sensitive, a cold is to blame. However, acute sinusitis occurs when a standard cold spreads to the nose or bacterial infections and fungus move into the nasal passage.

When this happens, telltale signs present themselves, and when they do, it’s time to visit the doctor. For most patients, they will experience one, or a combination, of the following symptoms:

  • Mucus in the back of the throat
  • Discharge with a yellow or brown hue
  • Limited air mobility through the nose
  • Inability to smell
  • Nose, face and cheeks that are sensitive to touch
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Moderate and high fever
  • Unwavering fatigue

If a patient’s symptoms last for longer than ten days, or if their fever surpasses 103-degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to see a doctor. For patients who ignore their symptoms or allow their side effects to worsen, acute sinusitis can quickly turn into pneumonia, which requires an extended hospital visit and a myriad of prescription-strength remedies.

Deviated Septums and Blocked Nasal Airways

Taking a step back from bacterial and fungal infections, deviated septums are a common issue that the majority of individuals secretly have. Recent data showed that nearly 80% of all individuals have some form of deviation of their perpendicular plate and vomer — the bones that run vertically inside their nose. Luckily, the vast majority of these deviations are trivial, and no surgical intervention is required to lead a productive lifestyle.

However, in extreme cases, deviations can lead to chronic sinus conditions. This side effect typically manifests itself by clogging one side of the nasal passage, making it difficult for air to pass freely into the lungs via the sinus cavity. For individuals who have this medical condition, they often report feeling as if their nose is plugged with a foreign substance or object. Over time, liquids drip into the back of the individual’s throat, causing bacteria-filled mucus to clog their airways. In the long run, this discharge causes numerous sinus conditions and infections in the patient’s upper airway.

And for those individuals who love their sleep, a deviated septum wreaks havoc on their blissful hours. When we sleep, various mechanisms of our nervous system — specifically the medulla oblongata — control our unconscious breathing. With a deviated septum blocking our nasal passage, sleep becomes disrupted, waking up through the night becomes commonplace and individuals feel awful the following morning. Over time, this weakens the immune system, and common sinus problems flood into the patient’s life.

Polyps in the Sinus Cavity

While this predicament’s name causes our skin to crawl, sinus polyps are a common issue that patients experience. Polyps are, generally speaking, an ailment that tags along with a previously-mentioned problem: sinusitis.

Nasal polyps develop when the delicate lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed and filled with bacteria-containing fluids. Once formed, individual nodes press past the surface, creating a small “bump” as a result. Although this seems like a daunting diagnosis, it’s a trivial issue to treat.

For starters, doctors use a combination of over-the-counter remedies and behavioral modifications to treat nasal polyps. By running a warm solution, such as water that contains saline solution, patients experience relief and reduction of their side effects. In severe cases, surgical solutions are needed to effectively remove the polyp and restore airflow to the patient’s sinus passage.

If required, an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor will use an endoscope for a minimally-invasive surgery to remove polyps formed in the deep recesses of a patient’s sinuses. This device resembles a small rubber hose with a flexible tube leading to the end. On the tip of the endoscope lies a high-definition camera to locate the polyp and remove unwanted growths from the patient’s nasal passage. Don’t worry; this procedure sounds more intimidating than it actually is, and patients recover in less than six weeks.

Don’t Fight the Battle Alone; Get Help Today

When learning about the various ailments that can affect one’s sinuses, it’s common to become defensive, showcase strong emotions and ignore medical ailments that have cropped up over the years. If readers suffer in silence with chronic or acute nasal conditions, it’s time to end the discomfort.

By consulting with a medically-trained professional who specializes in sinus-related conditions, patients reclaim their power and gain a new lease on life. Whether it’s optimal breathing while exercising, sleeping through the night or boosting their immune system to fight common sinus issues, a healthy nose is a key to a worthwhile lifestyle.

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