If you have ever had sinus issues, you soon begin to realize the connection between your sinuses and your nose. The sinuses are a cavity within the bones and tissues of the face that connect with the nasal cavity. Whenever you get a cold or flu, you feel the pressure in both the sinus and nasal cavity. It interferes with breathing, your sense of smell and taste. The pressure in these cavities can be uncomfortable and frustrating.
There are four types of sinuses. They all sit in four different locations in the face.
- The maxillary sinuses lie in the cheekbones.
- The frontal sinuses are in the lower part of the forehead, right above the eyebrows.
- Ethmoid sinus is between the eyes on the bridge of the nose.
- The sphenoid sinuses are in the bones of the nasal cavity.
The nose is a unique part of the face. Its function is to help us breathe. The nose is a part of the more complex respiratory system which is used to help us breathe in oxygen for the body and breathe out the carbon dioxide that the body does not need. The nose has unseen ridges called turbines that help filter the air that comes into the nasal cavity. The septum is the structure in the middle of the nose that divides it and creates the two different nostrils. The meatus is one of the last structures of the nose whose purpose is to be the pathway sinuses drain.
Many people suffer from allergies which lead to a cornucopia of sinus problems. Allergens like pollen, dust, and ragweed can irritate the sinuses. The nose has its defense mechanisms like every other part of the body. If anything foreign comes into the body, there is a reaction from the immune system that follows. If you have allergies, the defenses in the nose intensify causing stuffiness, sneezing, itchiness, and extra mucus.
Sinus infections are a result of bacteria in the sinus canal. When bacteria and viruses enter the sinus cavity, they cause inflammation, increased mucus, congestion, and discomfort. Sinus infections are divided into two types. The medical name would be acute or chronic sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is typically a one-time problem. Chronic sinusitis is an ongoing problem. It is persistent inflammation in the sinus cavity.
The nasal cavity can have its share of problems that affects the sinuses. A deviated septum is a problem that many Americans face. It is the result of the septum being too far to the left or the right, cutting off airflow into the nose. A deviated septum cannot be seen from the outside, but it is felt by the person who has one. Breathing is harder because air is obstructed from entering the nasal passage. Turbinate hypertrophy is another nasal cavity problem that results from the inflammation of the turbines in the nose. This inflammation too causes obstructed airflow. Nasal polyps are growths in the nasal cavity that comes from inflammation whether that is by allergies, sinus infections, or asthma.
Treating Nasal Problems
Treatment for sinus problems include antibiotics, nasal spray, and in some cases surgery. Sinus infections are treated with antibiotics. Decongestants and nasal spray are also helpful. Decongestants work by constricting the blood vessels in the nose. Nasal sprays help reduce inflammation and polyps. They are extremely useful for allergies. Antihistamines are the first form of treatment for allergies. They prevent the nose from reacting to allergens. Surgery is typically used to treat polyps and nasal obstructions. Surgery is the only treatment that can resolve a deviated septum. A surgeon must fix the septum and move it to its proper position.
Nasal and sinus problems are no fun. They bring a lot of discomforts and in the case of sinus infections, can make you feel awful and cause fevers. Persistent sinus congestion can go from an acute problem to a chronic issue. If you suffer from allergies, taking antihistamines is best. The antihistamines will keep your body from reacting to allergens that irritate your sinuses. They also prevent the occurrence of sinus infections and recurring inflammation. If you suffer from sinus issues, know you are not the only one. Anyone can have a sinus infection and nearly 30% of Americans suffer from allergies.
Sinus problems are not a serious condition that affects the quality of life. The greatest problems you may suffer are irritability, discomfort, and trouble breathing. Surgery is only needed in cases that are related to breathing. There are even home remedies that can treat the symptoms of nose and sinus issues. It is best to keep these cavities clean and moist. Drinking a lot of water will keep the cavities irrigated and cut down on sinus problems. Sometimes it is the simple things that help the most.
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