Sinus disease, or sinusitis, is a common condition that involves infection or inflammation of the air cells that surround the nasal cavity. Infections originate from bacteria, viruses or even fungi. There are anatomic and genetic conditions that can predispose someone to develop sinus disease but allergies to environmental allergens can also be a predisposing factor. Acute sinusitis involves an infection by viruses or bacteria with a duration lasting up to 8 weeks.
Chronic sinusitis involves infection, chronic inflammation, and in some cases nasal polyps with a duration lasting greater than 8 weeks. Symptoms of sinusitis include nasal congestion, discolored nasal discharge, facial pressure, loss of taste and smell and sometimes fever and fatigue.
Patients with recurrent acute sinusitis may benefit from allergy testing to determine an underlying trigger. Immune function can also be assessed for an underlying immune abnormality. Chronic sinusitis is often diagnosed with a CT scan of the sinuses.
Acute sinusitis can be treated by over the counter analgesics such as ibuprofen, nasal steroids and in some cases antibiotics. Chronic sinusitis treatment includes antibiotics, oral corticosteroids and sometimes sinus surgery to remove inflammation. Allergy treatment involving medication and immunotherapy may be helpful in acute and chronic sinusitis when appropriate.