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How Common is Sinusitis?

man suffering from a sinus infection at workSinusitis is a condition that can linger for months on end, causing annoying symptoms. It’s very common, and it’s an issue that ear, nose, and throat specialists (ENTs) diagnose and treat often.

In this blog, the specialists at New York ENT explain how common this ailment is and what you need to know about it.

What is sinusitis?

This condition is caused when the inflammation of the lining of your nasal passages and your sinuses become inflamed. While your sinuses are normally hollow spaces within the bones of your face and forehead, they can become clogged with mucus.

It can be classified as acute (lasting about four weeks) or chronic (which lasts for 12 weeks or more).

How common is sinusitis?

Many people suffer from it. About 35 million Americans are estimated to have the condition at least once a year.

What are its symptoms?

Some of its symptoms can be easily confused with other conditions, so an ENT physician can help correctly diagnose your condition.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Nasal obstruction or congestion
  • Thick, discolored discharge
  • Facial pressure or pain
  • Decreased sense of smell and/or taste
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Bad breath
  • Upper tooth pain

What causes it?

The following are some frequent causes of sinusitis:

  • Respiratory tract infections – such as colds
  • Allergies – which cause inflammation that blocks mucus from draining properly
  • Nasal polyps – growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses
  • Deviated nasal septum – a crooked wall between your nostrils
  • Other medical conditions – such as cystic fibrosis or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

How is it diagnosed?

An ENT has expertise and experience in treating conditions such as sinusitis, and he or she will talk to you about your medical history and symptoms and will also conduct a physical exam. Often this yields enough information to make a diagnosis. If not, however, other testing, such as a nasal endoscopy, may be needed. This allows your doctor to use a flexible, lighted tube to closely examine the inside of your sinuses.

How is it treated?

The type of treatment that’s best for you will depend on what’s causing your condition as well as the symptoms you're having.

Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following types of treatment:

  • Antibiotics – to treat sinusitis caused by a bacterial infection
  • Saline nasal irrigation – to reduce drainage and rinse away irritants
  • Nasal corticosteroids – to reduce inflammation
  • Oral or injected corticosteroids – to relieve inflammation caused by severe sinus infection
  • Immunotherapy – allergy shots to help desensitize your body to an allergen

When conservative treatments aren’t effective enough, surgery may be needed to clear and enlarge the sinus opening. It can also be used to straighten a deviated septum or remove nasal polyps.

If you have sinusitis, make an appointment today for an evaluation with New York ENT in New York City. We’ll recommend the most effective, least invasive forms of treatment that will have you breathing easier!

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