We hear a lot about sinuses. From summer allergies to winter colds and stuffiness, sinus congestion and even infections are things almost everyone has experienced. Most of us don’t understand the impact sinus problems can have on our overall feelings of health and wellbeing.
What exactly are sinuses?
We all know sort of where our sinuses are, but you may not know how they function and why they are important. Your sinus cavities are spaces between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks – all behind the bones in your upper face. A mucus layer containing cells covers the sinuses. The cells are covered with tiny hairs called cilia that help trap and push out bacteria and pollutants.
When sinuses don’t drain…
Each sinus has an opening to allow mucus to drain, and healthy sinuses drain regularly, keeping passages clear. Drainage keeps your sinuses working well and helps you stay healthy because it releases toxins you breathe in. When your sinuses get blocked, mucus build-up and bacteria can cause a sinus infection. When the lining of your sinuses becomes inflamed due to infection, you have the dreaded sinusitis and may experience any or all of these symptoms:
- Facial pain, pressure, congestion or fullness
- Difficulty breathing through your nose
- Yellow or green mucus discharge from the nose
- Teeth pain, headache, sore throat, and/or bad breath
- Loss of the sense of smell or taste
The effect of sinuses on your health
Sinusitis is one of the most common health problems in the U.S., affecting about 37 million people a year. It’s even more prevalent than heart disease and asthma. And it’s not to be taken lightly. It can have a lingering effect on your energy, due to both the pain and pressure and to your body’s ongoing fight against infection.
- Sinusitis affects approximately 14% of the adult U.S. population.
- Chronic sinusitis results in an estimated 18-22 million doctor visits annually, meaning missed work and social commitments.
- Consumers spend more than $8 billion each year on prescription and over-the-counter medications and doctor appointments.
Clearly, sinus health is essential to overall health. A simple case of acute sinusitis can elevate to chronic sinusitis if you don’t take proper care at the first sign of congestion and inflammation. Keeping your sinuses healthy can save you a lot of time and money, too, and help you maintain the quality of life you deserve.