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Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic Sinusitis: Introduction

Chronic sinusitis is a long-term ongoing or recurring inflammation of the air-filled spaces that are located within the bones in and around the nose. These spaces are called paranasal sinuses, and when they get infected, they become inflamed. This results in swelling of the mucus membranes that line the sinuses, which causes pain and pressure in and around the eyes and cheekbones.

Chronic sinusitis differs from acute sinusitis in that chronic sinusitis occurs for more than a couple of months or continues to recur while acute sinusitis is short-lived and does not recur. Both chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis can result from a viral infection, bacterial infection, or rarely, a fungal infection of the sinuses. Risk factors for the development of chronic sinusitis include having nasal polyps, nasal tumors, deviated nasal septum, asthma, and allergies.

An infection occurs when the body's immune system is unable to stop the multiplying of harmful bacteria, viruses or fungi that have been introduced into the sinuses. This results in the inflammation of the sinuses and symptoms, such as facial pain and pressure and thick greenish mucus that is discharged from the nose. Severe complications that affect the brain may also occur. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of chronic sinusitis.

Making a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and a physical examination that focuses on the nose and sinuses. Findings include swelling and inflammation of the sinuses and thick greenish nasal mucus. Diagnostic testing may include imaging tests, such as an X-ray or CT, which can confirm a diagnosis and reveal the severity of the condition. A nasal endoscopy may be performed to look at the inside of the nose and sinuses.

If chronic sinusitis is suspected to be caused by allergies, a referral is made to a specialist called an allergist for further diagnosis and treatment of the underlying allergy. It is possible that a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis can be missed or delayed because the symptoms can be mild or be similar to symptoms of conditions and diseases, such as migraine headache or upper respiratory infection. For more information on diseases and conditions that can mimic sinusitis, refer to misdiagnosis of chronic sinusitis.

Treatment of sinusitis varies depending on the cause, severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person's medical history. Treatment may include medications and possibly surgery in some cases. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of chronic sinusitis. ...more »

Chronic Sinusitis: Long term or recurring inflammation of the sinuses. Chronic forms of the condition usually mean that symptoms have persisted for three months or longer. Chronic sinusitis is often associated with allergies. ...more »

Chronic Sinusitis: Symptoms

The way that chronic sinusitis affects people can vary, but typical symptoms include headache, pain or pressure in the face or area in and around the eyes, greenish nasal discharge, swelling around the nose and eyes and eyelids and fatigue. Pain and headache may be worse when bending over or lying down. Symptoms can also resemble a toothache in the upper jaw.

...more symptoms »

Chronic Sinusitis: Treatments

The first step in treatment of sinusitis is prevention. Prevention measures include adequate diagnosis and treatment of allergies, avoiding exposure to infections, and good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing and not picking the nose.

The most successful treatment plan for chronic sinusitis uses a multipronged approach aimed at relieving nasal ...more treatments »

Chronic Sinusitis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of chronic sinusitis may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms can be nonspecific or common to many other conditions. These include upper respiratory infection, influenza, tooth ache, tooth abscess, migraine headache, allergic rhinitis, hay fever or a cold. Because of the similarity to symptoms of these and other conditions, it is important that people with ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis

Treatments for Chronic Sinusitis

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Chronic Sinusitis?

Chronic Sinusitis: Related Patient Stories

Chronic Sinusitis: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Chronic Sinusitis.

Causes of Chronic Sinusitis

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Disease Topics Related To Chronic Sinusitis

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Chronic Sinusitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Chronic Sinusitis

Sinusitis is overdiagnosed: There is a tendency to give a diagnosis of sinusitis, when the condition is really a harmless complication of another infection, such as a common more »

Whooping cough often undiagnosed: Although most children in the Western world have been immunized against whooping cough (also called "pertussis"), this protection wears off after about 15 years. Thus, more »

Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms of severe brain injury are hard to miss, it is less clear for milder injuries, or even those causing a mild concussion diagnosis. The condition goes by the name of more »

MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go more »

Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed on their return. more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine more »

Pituitary conditions often undiagnosed cause of symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by a pituitary disorder (see symptoms of pituitary disorders). For example, fatigue, more »

Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases are difficult to diagnose. Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung cancer often fail to be diagnosed early. Some of more »

Chronic Sinusitis: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Chronic Sinusitis

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Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Chronic Sinusitis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Chronic Sinusitis: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Chronic Sinusitis

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Chronic Sinusitis

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Chronic Sinusitis: Animations

Research about Chronic Sinusitis

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Statistics for Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic Sinusitis: Broader Related Topics

Chronic Sinusitis Message Boards

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