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Diseases of the Sinuses and Nose

Nasal and Sinus Diseases Symptoms and Causes

Diseases and Disorders of the Sinus and Nose

Disease and disorders of the nose typically affect the sinuses, which are air-filled spaces behind the forehead, nasal bones, cheeks and eyes that are lined with mucus membranes. In healthy sinuses, mucus is able to drain out and air can circulate easily. However, when there is a sinus disorder or disease openings in the sinus cavity can become blocked or too much mucus builds up and bacteria and other germs can grow more easily leading to sinusitis. The nose is prone to diseases such as rhinitis, nasal polyps and deviated nasal septum.

Sinusitis — is an inflammation of the sinuses that can last up to four weeks, known as acute sinusitis, or can last three months or longer, known as chronic sinusitis

Rhinitis – occurs when you breathe in something you are allergic to, such as dust, dander or pollen

Nasal polyps — are sac-like growths consisting of inflamed tissue lining the nose (nasal mucosa) or sinuses. Nasal polyps usually start near the ethmoid sinuses at the top of the inside of the nose and grow into the open areas. Large polyps can block the sinuses or nasal airway.

Deviated Nasal Septum 

Diseases of the Sinuses and Nose Symptoms:

Sinusitis symptoms:

The classic symptoms of acute sinusitis usually follow a cold that does not improve or one that worsens after five-to-seven days of symptoms and include:

  • Bad breath or loss of smell
  • Cough, often worse at night
  • Fatigue and general ill feeling
  • Fever
  • Headache -- pressure-like pain behind the eyes, toothache or facial tenderness
  • Nasal congestion and discharge
  • Sore throat and postnasal drip

The classic symptoms of chronic sinusitis:

  • Same symptoms as acute sinusitis, but can last up to three months or longer

Allergic rhinitis symptoms:
Allergic rhinitis symptoms usually happen in a group:

  • Itchy nose, mouth, eyes, throat, skin
  • Problems with smell
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Tearing eyes

Additional rhinitis symptoms may develop later:

  • Stuffy nose (nasal congestion)
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Clogged ears and decreased sense of smell
  • Dark circles and/or puffiness under the eyes
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Headache
  • Memory problems and slowed thinking

Nasal polyp symptoms:
People with undiagnosed nasal polyps often complain about having a cold that has lasted for months or even years. Nasal polyps symptoms include:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Nose that feels blocked
  • Reduced or complete loss of sense of smell. (Complete loss of smell is not a common symptom of a sinus infection.)
  • Runny nose

Deviated Nasal Septum

Causes of Diseases and Disorders in the Sinus and Nose:

  • Acute sinusitis -- usually caused by a bacterial infection in the sinuses that results from an upper respiratory tract infection
  • Chronic sinusitis -- long-term swelling and inflammation of the sinuses that may be caused by bacteria or a fungus
  • Rhinitis – caused by breathing in an allergen such as pollen or dust that triggers an allergic reaction. The body releases histamines to fight the allergens which, in turn, cause symptoms such as itching, swelling, and excessive mucus.
  • Nasal polyps -- people with the following conditions are more likely to also have nasal polyps:
    • Aspirin sensitivity (wheezing)
    • Asthma
    • Chronic sinus infections
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)