What is Sinusitis?

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What is Sinusitis?

Now that we have understood what are sinuses, let us now look at “what is Sinusitis”. Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the lining inside the paranasal sinuses. While healthy sinuses are filled with air, inflamed sinuses are filled with fluid and germs leading to congestion and swelling. Sinusitis is a very common complaint in India and it would be helpful to understand what is sinusitis, what are its causes, symptoms and treatment options available.

So what is rhino-sinusitis?

Since the isolated inflammation of the lining alone is extremely rare and the inflammation of nasal cavity lining is present in every sinusitis, the term rhino-sinusitis describes the condition better. It is one of the most common infections in humans and the most common disease of an upper respiratory tract. It is estimated that 15-20% of people have at least one Rhinosinusitis episode every year.

What are the types of Sinusitis?

Depending on how long it lasts and how frequently it occurs, Rhino-sinusitis has been classified into the following categories:

- Acute Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis is characterised by a sudden onset of inflammation of the mucus membranes of your nose and sinuses. It is short term in nature and lasts not more than 4 weeks after which it resolves entirely. It is most commonly caused by a viral infection and gets better without medication. We will look at the causes of sinusitis in detail in subsequent articles.

- Subacute Sinusitis

Just like its acute form, it starts suddenly but lasts for 4-12 weeks. Unlike acute sinusitis, it does not go away by itself and it is recommended to consult a Sinus specialist if symptoms persist.

- Recurrent Sinusitis

Recurrent sinusitis is characterised by 4 or more episodes within 12 months that last at least 7 days each. Between each episode, the sinuses become normal before getting inflamed again. It is highly recommended to consult a Sinus specialist if you are having recurrent sinusitis.

- Chronic Sinusitis

A patient suffering from chronic sinusitis has repeated episodes of acute sinus infections that persist longer than 12 weeks (3 months). Your sinus doctor will recommend a CT scan of the nose and sinuses, and do an endoscopic examination of the nasal cavity.

Now that we have learnt what are sinuses and what is Sinusitis, let us now understand the symptoms of sinusitis.

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