Sinusitis affects 37 millions people in the U.S., and is defined as the inflammation of the lining of the nasal passages blocking the drainage of mucus. If not treated properly, sinusitis can lead to more serious health complications. There are two specific forms of sinusitis: acute and chronic. It’s important to know the difference between the two so proper care is received.
Understanding Acute Sinusitis
In acute sinusitis, symptoms tend to last no more than eight weeks. The major symptoms include facial pressure and pain, thick discolored mucus and congestion. These symptoms can usually be treated with simple home remedies and over the counter sinus medicine.
How Chronic Sinusitis Differs
Chronic sinusitis can last anywhere from 12 weeks to years at a time. This form of sinusitis is harder to treat, usually due to higher levels of inflammation in the sinuses. Though the symptoms are sometimes less severe than that of acute forms, if not treated consistently it can lead to complications requiring medical assistance and even surgery.
Possible Causes of Sinusitis
Blockage of the draining of mucus that causes sinus infections are most often caused by:
- Infection: Viral infection is the most common and can be caused by bacteria or a minor cold.
- Allergies: Irritations by dust, pollen, and mold within the nasal passages causing the swelling and inflammation.
- Nasal blockage: Any kind of growth within the nasal cavity that results in irritation of blockage of the draining of bacteria through the mucus.
- Infected or enlarged adenoids: Irritation of the back of the throat by bacteria, resulting it the area becoming enlarged or inflected.
Common Symptoms of Sinusitis
Common symptoms of both acute and chronic sinusitis include, but are not limited to:
- Facial pain, pressure, swelling, or tenderness
- Nasal obstruction or blockage
- Nasal discharge that is thick and yellow or greenish in color
- Nasal discharge that drains down the back of your throat
- Decreased sense of taste or smell
- Ear pain or pressure
- Pain in your upper teeth and jaw
- Bad breath
- Persistent cough