Sinusitis affects 37 million people each year, making it one of the most common health problems in the U.S. It is more prevalent than heart disease and asthma and has a greater impact on quality of life than chronic back pain or congestive heart failure. Symptoms may significantly affect people physically, functionally, and emotionally.
The Role of the Sinuses
To understand sinusitis, it is important to first learn about your sinuses and their role with your health.
The sinuses are air spaces behind the bones of the upper face, between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks. The sinuses are covered with a mucus layer and cells that contain little hairs on their surfaces called cilia. These help trap and push out bacteria and pollutants.
Each sinus has an opening that allows mucous to drain – this drainage is essential to keeping your sinuses working well and you healthy. Anything that obstructs that flow may cause a buildup of mucus in the sinuses.
Experts agree that healthy sinuses are a key to a good quality of life and that unhealthy sinuses may cause some unwanted complications.
Facts About Sinusitis*
- Sinusitis affects approximately 14% of the adult U.S. population.
- Sinusitis affects 17% of women and 10% of men each year.
- Chronic sinusitis (not including acute sinusitis) results annually in an estimated 18-22 million physician office visits.
- Direct healthcare expenditures due to sinusitis cost are well over $8 billion each year.**
- Total restricted activity days due to sinusitis are well over 73 million per year.
** Inflation Adjusted.
What are the Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis
Sinusitis (also called rhinosinusitis) is the name of the condition in which the lining of your sinuses becomes inflamed. The sinuses are air spaces behind the bones of the upper face, between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks.
Normally, the sinuses drain through small openings into the inside of the nose. Anything that blocks the flow may cause a buildup of mucus in the sinuses. The blockage and inflammation of the sinus membranes can be infectious or non-infectious.
The symptoms caused by sinusitis may be quite uncomfortable. The signs and symptoms may include:*
- Facial pain, pressure, congestion or fullness
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Discharge of yellow or green mucus from the nose
- Teeth pain
- Loss of the sense of smell or taste
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
Types of Sinusitis
There are two main categories of sinusitis: acute and chronic.
Sinusitis is usually preceded by a cold, allergy attack or irritation from environmental pollutants. Often, the resulting symptoms, such as nasal pressure, nasal congestion, a "runny nose," and fever, run their course in a few days. However, if symptoms persist, a bacterial infection or acute sinusitis may develop.
Most cases of sinusitis are acute (or sudden onset); however, if the condition occurs frequently or lasts three months or more, you may have chronic sinusitis.
Chronic Sinusitis Treatment Options
Chronic sinusitis symptoms can make you miserable and impact your quality of life. In order to get relief, you need to make the right treatment decision with your doctor.
Over the last 2 years the Balloon Sinuplasty™ technology has emerged as a new complement to existing approaches. The information below summarizes the primary approaches for treating chronic sinusitis.
Sinusitis is typically treated first with medication. Treatment with antibiotics or topical nasal steroid sprays is often successful in reducing mucosal swelling, fighting infection, and relieving obstructions of the sinus opening (ostium). Inhaling steam or use of saline nasal sprays or drops can also help relieve sinus discomfort. However, at least 20% of patients do not respond adequately to medications.
Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (ESS)
The goals of sinus surgery are to clear blocked sinuses restoring normal sinus drainage and to preserve normal anatomy and mucosal tissue. Specialized instruments are placed into the nose along with a small endoscope to help the surgeon see inside the nose and nasal cavities.
Sinus surgery with traditional instrumentation removes bone and tissue to enlarge the sinus opening. The removal of bone and tissue may lead to post-operative pain, scarring, and bleeding. Uncomfortable nasal packing may be required to control the bleeding.
The Balloon Sinuplasty™ Technology: Novel, Endoscopic, Catheter-Based Devices
Sinus surgery with Balloon Sinuplasty™ technology utilizes a small, flexible, sinus balloon catheter that is placed into the nose to reach the sinuses. The sinus balloon catheter is gradually inflated to gently restructure the previously blocked nasal passage, maintaining the integrity of the sinus lining and restoring normal sinus drainage and function. There is minimal bleeding, and many patients have been able to return to normal activities within 24 hours. Clinical research has indicated that the Balloon Sinuplasty™ system is a safe and effective tool in dilating blocked sinuses.