"If you have chronic sinusitis, you are at increased risk of snoring and sleep apnea. Sinusitis is one of the most common chronic diseases in America."
Sinuses are the gateway to and defender of your lungs. If they are blocked, this can be the beginning of your breathing problems.
Sinuses are air filled cavities located behind and around the nose and eyes. There are four sets, roughly divided into half on each side of the head. The frontal sinuses are above your eyes, the maxillaries are pyramid shaped cavities located in each cheekbone, the ethmoid are behind the maxillaries and the sphenoids are deep in the skull behind the nose. Each sinus is connected to the nasal passage by a thin duct. This narrow passage makes mucus drainage and air exchange possible. If mucus becomes trapped in the sinuses, it can lead to sinusitis, which is inflammation within the sinuses.
Symptoms of Sinus Problems
Head Congestion, or a feeling of fullness in your head. This symptom is most obvious in the morning when you get up. Voice, smell and taste may be altered. Dizziness and light-headedness may also be sensations associated with this condition.
Headache and Facial Pain may occur in the area of the affected sinus, e.g. under the eye or in the cheek. Pain may also occur in the upper teeth and be so severe that it prompts a visit to a dentist. Sinus headaches tend to worsen when you bend your head forward or lie down and tend to be worse in the morning.
Extreme fatigue is often the chief complaint of a person with sinus problems. You may find yourself sleeping longer than usual and still being tired. Often, there is an overall sense of general malaise. When the sinus issues are treated, your energy levels will return to normal.
Sore Throat, Laryngitis and Cough can all be caused by postnasal mucus drainage down the back of the throat that occurs when your sinuses are blocked. Soreness and irritation caused by this drainage may keep you from sleeping at night. These symptoms will be much worse first thing in the morning than they will be later in the day.
Nasal Discharge. Yellow-green mucus is an important diagnostic clue. This is indicative of a sinus infection and is very helpful in making the diagnosis.
CT Scan is the most accurate way to diagnose sinus problems. This is the best way to determine the extent of sinus disease
Chronic Sinusitis is a persistent low-grade infection with periodic flare-ups of acute sinusitis.
Acute Sinusitis is recurrent or repeated sinus infections.
Chronic Inflammation with little or no infection. Inflammation involves pain, swelling, and increased secretions from the mucous membranes lining the sinuses, without bacteria, viruses or fungi that are associated with infection.
Sinus Problems interfere with effective breathing and worsen sleep apnea. Managing sinus issues will improve your snoring and sleep apnea.
If you suspect you have sinus problems, what should you do?
Have an evaluation with an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor). This will determine if you have any anatomical problems (e.g. deviated septum) or if you have an infection requiring antibiotics.
Educate yourself about sinus health. A valuable resource is “Sinus Survival: The holistic medical treatment for allergies, colds and sinusitis.” By Dr. R. Ivker (2000).
Become aware of your symptoms and implement self-help strategies as soon as you suspect sinus congestion.
Self Help Strategies for Sinus Health
Your first goal is to improve sinus drainage:
Drink lots of water
Sleep with your head elevated
Take a hot shower and inhale steam
Use a salt-water (isotonic) nasal rinse
Warm compresses over your sinuses
Use decongestants (tablets or nasal sprays)
Use Mucinex tablets to break down secretions Mucinex () is an expectorant. It helps loosen congestion in your chest and throat, making it easier to cough out through your mouth. Mucinex is used to reduce chest congestion caused by the common cold, infections, or allergies.
Sinuses are an important part of your upper airway. Clear sinuses will improve night-time breathing. Your Sleep Treatment Specialists will help you develop your treatment plan.
In need of immediate care?
Dr. Eli provides emergency after hours consultations. Call us at (760) 436-6365