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Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue in the nose and the sinuses, which are a connected system of hollow spaces (cavities) in the skull. When healthy sinuses become blocked and fill with liquid, germs can grow causing a sinus infection. Chronic sinusitis occurs when the sinuses are swollen and inflamed for months or longer despite treatment. Many patients with chronic sinusitis also suffer from underlying allergies, and an allergy workup and treatments may be offered.

Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Brain fog, trouble concentrating
  • Nasal inflammation
  • Thick, discolored discharge from the nose
  • Postnatal drainage (drainage down the back of the throat)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Pressure around the forehead, eyes, cheeks or nose
  • Reduced sense of taste and smell
  • Sore throat
  • Ear pressure

Risk Factors

You’re at increased risk of getting sinusitis if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • A recent cold
  • A deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps
  • Swollen adenoids
  • Prolonged usage of decongestant sprays
  • Allergies
  • Certain chronic illnesses such as diabetes
  • Age
  • Gender – women have a greater chance of developing sinusitis
  • Environmental factors including regular exposure to pollutants

Evaluation and Treatments

Treating chronic sinusitis can greatly help sinus suffers quality of life. The determination of whether the sinus inflammation is from allergies, infection or blockage from nasal structures can be determined through examination and CT scan. They look deeper in the nose with the camera on a stick, called nasal endoscopy, may be performed to evaluate for polyps blocking the sinuses or to collect a culture to determine if bacteria are present.

Blocked sinuses can often be treated through medications, allergy treatments and nasal sprays. Sometimes a procedure may be needed to open up blocked pathways in the nose or sinuses, such as straightening out a deviated septum, using balloons to open blocked drainage pathways or minimally invasive endoscopic sinus surgery. Dr. Zachmann offers the latest technologies to be able to address the sinuses with innovations that allow for efficient and comfortable treatments. No packing is used. Procedures that formally required a trip to a surgery center under anesthesia can now be done in the office in many cases with improved comfort and easier recovery.

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