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How Chronic Sinusitis Affects Your Health

Sinus problems are a frequent complaint, but typically simple to resolve. This inflammation and swelling of the nasal cavities is often related to allergies, the common cold, or infections, and is usually alleviated with over the counter medication, antibiotics, or time. However, if congestion is persistent, lasts for over 12 weeks, and isn’t resolved with typical measures, it may be chronic sinusitis.

Chronic sinusitis interferes with normal sinus drainage, which causes mucus buildup. In addition to making it difficult to breathe through your nose, chronic sinusitis can also cause:

  • Ear pain

  • Postnasal drip

  • Facial pain or tenderness

  • Sore throat

  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

  • Aching in upper teeth and jaws

  • Fatigue or irritability

There are a variety of risk factors that can predispose a person to chronic sinusitis, including:

  • Breathing airborne particles, like mold spores

  • Nasal polyps

  • Anatomic deformities, like a deviated septum

  • Allergies or hayfever

  • Thyroid diseases or diabetes

  • Overuse of medication

  • Irritation of the nasal lining

  • Complications from cystic fibrosis, gastrointestinal reflux, or HIV

  • Chronic dental infections

In addition to being uncomfortable and cumbersome, chronic sinusitis can precede asthma, and cause chronic fatigue and daytime fogginess. Headaches, bad breath, and toothache are also common complaints of chronic sinusitis.

Any sinus issues should be properly addressed, but chronic sinusitis can be especially problematic and should be evaluated by your doctor. He or she will first examine your nose for anatomic abnormalities, like a deviated septum or the presence of nasal polyps. Typically, with a few questions about your symptoms, he or she will be able to identify and address your chronic sinusitis.

Your doctor may refer you to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), who will perform additional tests like a scan of your sinuses or a detailed look into your nasal cavity. If all else fails, your ENT may suggest a minimally invasive, endoscopic surgical procedure, but this is rarely necessary as most chronic sinusitis issues are usually resolved with steroids or prolonged courses of antibiotics.

For more information on chronic sinusitis or to schedule a consultation, give us a call at 1-931-455-2005.

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