What is sinusitis?
The word sinus refers to a hollow space in the skull that is connected to the nasal cavity. The suffix “itis” always indicates an inflammation. This inflammation of the sinuses may be caused by a structural problem in the nose, a bacterial or fungal infection, allergies, environmental air pollution, or the inhalation of toxic fumes that irritate the tissues in the sinus cavity. The symptoms, which may include a stuffed-up nose and thick nasal mucus, as well as fever and headaches, may be temporary. When they are long lasting or continuous, they are diagnosed as chronic sinusitis.
Does sinusitis always require treatment?
The symptoms of sinusitis are familiar and, if not too severe, many people choose to ignore them and play a waiting game, hoping they will clear up on their own. In many instances the symptoms resolve naturally, depending on the cause, but if left untreated sinusitis can become chronic.
What are the dangers of untreated chronic sinusitis?
Untreated chronic sinusitis can lead to a number of complications, such as:
- A decreased to the complete loss of the sense of smell
- The development of a cyst-like mass that can expand and cause pain and, if it becomes infected, may require surgery to be removed.
- Spread of the infection to the eyes, causing redness and pus or even vision changes.
- Although rare, the spread of infection can affect the bones, brain, or spinal fluid, or cause meningitis or a brain abscess
- Also rare, chronic sinusitis may cause a blood clot behind the eyes, producing pressure on the brain, which can be life threatening.
What are the ostia?
An ostium is a small opening. A sinus ostium is a small opening that allows for the drainage of fluids into the nasal cavity. When the sinuses are blocked and this drainage is impeded, headaches, and earaches or other pain in the facial area may result from the pressure.
What is endoscopy?
An endoscope is a thin, flexible, tubular medical device with a light attached to it. It is typically non-invasive and is inserted via a natural opening in the body, such as the mouth. It also has a lens or miniature camera at the end of it that is connected to a monitor in the treatment room, on which the practitioner can see the target area, without having to make an incision. Endoscopy is an examination using an endoscope. “Endo” is from the Latin, meaning “within.” “Scope” is from the Greek, meaning to look at or view carefully.