Simply put, sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses, which are hollow spaces in our facial bones that connect directly or indirectly to the nasal cavity through narrow drainage pathways. The frontal sinuses are in the forehead region. The ethmoid sinuses are in between the eyes. The maxillary sinuses are in the cheek region below the eyes, and the sphenoid sinuses are located behind the ethmoid sinuses in the eyes. The sinuses have a thin lining called mucosa, and this lining can become inflamed and swollen due to a number of different reasons, including allergies and infections. In some instances, sinusitis is short-lived and resolves within weeks. This is called acute sinusitis. However, in some cases, sinusitis can last for months, if not longer. When sinusitis is present for more than three months, it is termed chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is a major health problem in the United States. You might be surprised to hear this, but it affects up to 16% of adults. That's almost one in six adults in the United States. The effects of sinusitis can be disabling in many respects and have been shown to affect the quality of life, productivity, and even finances of many patients. In fact, studies have shown that chronic sinusitis can have a worse or similar effect on quality of life when compared to things like high blood pressure, heart disease such as coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure, and lung disease such as COPD and asthma.
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