What Are The Sinuses?
The sinuses are 4 pairs of air-filled spaces located on the sides of the nose (the maxillary sinuses), behind the eyes (the ethmoid sinuses), in the forehead (the frontal sinuses), and at the back of the nasal cavity (the sphenoid sinuses). Sinuses help to moisten the air as we breathe. They also produce mucus to help trap dust and germs.
When the sinuses are functioning normally, the mucus they produce drains out of the sinus passages and is directed down the throat to the stomach. However, if the sinuses become inflamed, the tiny openings that help to drain the sinuses can become blocked, preventing mucus from draining. The trapped mucus creates an environment in which infections can take hold; this helps explain why many patients with chronic sinusitis also develop reoccurring sinus infections.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis refers to inflammation in the lining of the sinuses. When the sinus pathways are inflamed, mucus cannot drain properly. Improper drainage causes backups and can foster the growth of bacteria. Sinusitis attacks make you feel miserable. They can cause a wide range of symptoms that can include difficulty breathing, headaches, pain behind the eyes and cheeks, persistent nasal discharge, fever, and fatigue. Beyond the discomfort of these symptoms, if sinusitis is left untreated, in rare cases it can lead to severe medical problems and even death.