Sinus Cavities - Facts about SinusitisParanasal sinuses are air-filled sacs present within the bones of the skull and face. These sinuses are located on either sides of the nasal cavity. There are four different types of paranasal sinuses in humans depending on their location. These include frontal, ethmoid, maxillary and sphenoid. All these types of sinuses are connected with the nose through narrow channels called ostia. Paranasal sinuses are helpful in providing shape to facial bones. However, the most important function of paranasal sinuses is to act as a resonance box or a sponge and prevent echoes that may reverberate in the skull when a person speaks. Other important functions include proper circulation of air inside the skull providing an air-conditioning effect, making the skull light in weight and helping in pronouncing nasal consonants.
Inflammation in the mucous lining surrounding the nose results in formation of thick nasal discharge. When the infection spreads to sinus cavities, mucus is formed within the sinus that gets drained into the nose through narrow channels. As the mucus thickens, it blocks the sinus passage resulting in fluid and mucus accumulation inside the sinus, a condition termed as sinusitis. Sinusitis causes headaches as a result of an infection in the upper respiratory tract, dental sepsis or an ear infection. Other contributing factors include changes in atmospheric pressure, swimming, environmental pollutants, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, a facial injury, allergies, asthma, nasal polyps, nasal deformities, cleft palate and adenoids.
Symptoms of sinusitis are nasal obstruction, swollen nasal passages, pain around the eyes and cheeks, thick nasal discharge that is yellow or green colored, facial swelling, puffiness around the eyes, and pus formation in the affected area, cold and cough with sore throat. Symptoms of sinusitis are predominantly present during early morning hours and gradually reduce in the afternoon. Also, conditions such as damp weather, sudden change in temperature and cough can aggravate sinusitis.