Sinusitis is completely curable

Sinusitis is completely curable

Sinusitis is completely curable

The problem of sinusitis, known in common parlance as simply ‘sinus’, affects people ever so often. You are sure to have come across people with painfully blocked nasal airways, especially during change of seasons, missing school or office to take steam inhalation and medication.

 But what is sinusitis? Why does it affect some people and not others, and is there a permanent solution to this seasonal problem?

Dr Sunil Raman Ahuja, senior consultant, ENT, Asian Institute of Medical Science, Faridabad, says, “In layman’s language, nature has provided us certain cavities (holes) in the bone structure around the nose to enable resonance to sound.

These include the maxillary sinuses under the eyes, frontal sinuses on the forehead, ethmoid sinuses between the nose and the eyes, and the sphenoid sinuses embedded behind the bones of the nasal cavity.”

“These are supposed to stay as such – hollow. However, when the tissue lining the sinuses gets infected due to severe cold or allergy, they get filled with germs and fluid leading to sinusitis. Symptoms range from a stuffed nasal passage to thick discharge and headache depending on the severity of the problem.”

Sinusitis shows no gender bias or age preference. It manifests mainly during seasonal changes and aggravates during spring, winter and humid monsoon. Those who have an existing allergic tendency or a deformed nasal septum are most susceptible to sinusitis. However, it is increasingly affecting persons residing in cities with polluted air.

Dr Jayant Jaiswal, senior consultant, ENT, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, says, “Dirty air plays a significant role in causing infection in the soft tissues of the sinuses. And it is not just polluted cities but congested cities which carry bad air. Earlier, we would, roughly, get one such case in five sinusitis patients; now, it has risen to three in five.”

A related problem is that of nasal polyps, that is, small eruptions in the lining of the nose when it gets inflamed. Dangerously, in some cases, the polyps become malignant giving rise to cancerous nasal polyps from sinusitis.

“In such instances,” says Dr Ahuja, “an endoscopy, CT scan or MRI is done to confirm the presence of polyps and it is surgically removed. Deviated nasal septums are also corrected in a similar manner. It is quick, safe and highly effective.”

A new treatment procedure that has come up in the last few years is Balloon Sinuplasty (BS). “It uses a small, flexible balloon tube to open up the clogged sinuses and enables drainage of the mucus that builds up in chronic sinusitis patients. Taking sinus surgery to the next level of innovation, BSP has shown brilliant results across the world,” informs Dr Atul Mittal, director of ENT, Fortis Memorial Research Institute.

Thankfully, not all sinusitis cases require surgical intervention. In a sizeable number of cases, steam inhalation, anti-allergic decongestants and antibiotics are sufficient, says Dr Jaiswal, “The key is not to get scared. In the past, only 10 per cent of sinusitis cases could be satisfactorily resolved. Today, the figure is exactly opposite. Treatment is successful in 90 per cent sinusitis cases.”

“Sinusitis is completely curable. You need not live with clogged nasal passages every other season.”

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