Human sinuses receive some of the worst bad raps in just about all things medical. With the yearly onset of colder weather, print, television and other media harp on the discomfort and ill ease caused by those lowly sinuses. All the while, a literal ocean of sprays, drops and other over-the-counter preparations are offered up as fast-fast relief.
Actually, it’s a case of advertisers crying “wolf” far too much. Actual cases of sinus infection are few and far between. Plus, a diagnosis of sinusitis requires an X-ray or CT scan to properly diagnose. Patient symptoms of the condition include:
- A high fever and, often, a bad headache
- General patient weakness and legthargy
- Green, yellow or brown pus exiting the nose
- Facial redness and swelling
Very few physicians will miss the signs and patient complaints about actual sinusitis.
What is more likely happening during most patient-diagnosed instances of what most think is a sinus problem:
- Blocked nasal passages
- A deviated septum
- Enlarged turbinates, structures inside the nose that filter, warm and moisturize the air you breathe.
The human skull contains seven sinus chambers and they all depend on clear breathing channels through the nose to receive oxygen into their openings.
In most cases, people most likely to complain of winter-based sinus attacks are those with nasal blockages due to a broken nose that healed in the broken condition.
Others have what is known to doctors as a “deviated septum.” The septum, a paper-thin, bone and cartilage divider sitting between the two breathing channels through the nose can block the free flow of air if knocked out of place. In other cases, the turbinates become enlarged and stifle air flow. In yet other cases, a patient may have a nasal allergy that causes nasal swelling.
Cigarette smoking is another bugbear that inhibits clear breathing.
Most sinus sufferers live in colder climes; so indoor heating often causes nasal dryness, the foe of normal nose and sinus activity.
Cosmetic plastic surgeons know to ask rhinoplasty-seeking patients about their own sinusitis history. For, if they want a nose job, they should first consider a nasal procedure known as functional surgery, an operation that restores normal breathing channels.