Knowing how people get sinus infections can help you determine the proper course of treatment to make as well as undertake preventive measures to address this problem.
Certain groups of people are more vulnerable or prone to sinus infections because of medical conditions that they were born with or have acquired. Examples of these are sufferers of allergic rhinitis and non-allergic rhinitis. Rhinitis is characterized by the irritation and inflammation of the nasal passages. Constant inflammation of the paranasal and nasal membranes make you more susceptible to getting sinus infections. The irritation and inflammation of the nasal passages is often attributed to having allergies to dust mites, fungus, allergens, and pets, or allergic rhinitis. However, it is now widely recognized that not all those who suffer from chronic rhinitis are necessarily those with allergies.
Nasal Structure and Anatomy
The structure of your nose and its shape can also be the cause of sinus infections. Ideally, the nose should be divided by a nasal septum that is perfectly centered inside the nose. Although only twenty percent of all nasal septums conform to this ideal, they can still function normally in terms of draining the sinuses. However, if the septum is severely off course, which is known as a deviated septum, it will block the nasal passages and cause difficulty in breathing and draining the mucus. As a result, frequent sinus infections can occur.
The Common Cold
Another common cause of sinus infections is upper respiratory infections, or the common cold. Having the cold virus in your body sets off symptoms of inflamed sinus passages. Although the inflammation is often mild, there are instances when the inflammation is so severe that bacteria proliferates, thereby causing a sinus infection. This type of sinusitis is rhinosinusitis, which refers to sinusitis as a result of rhinitis.
This form of acute sinusitis occurs right after common cold virus goes away. The presence of a sinus infection is evidenced by the presence of thick and green nasal discharge, as opposed to the clear, runny discharged that is a symptom of the common cold.
In the same manner that predisposing conditions cause sinus infections, medical conditions that cause reduced immune deficiency also make you vulnerable to sinus infections. Some examples are diabetes, HIV or AIDS and hypothyroidism. What these medical disorders have in common is that they cause the inflammation of the nasal passages, as well as the production of thick mucus, which remains stagnant in such nasal passages.
“Sinusitis.” Cleveland Clinic Continuing Medical Education (CME). Web. 22 Oct. 2010. http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/allergy/rhino-sinusitis/.
“Deviated Septum Fact Sheet.”http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/deviatedSeptum.cfm. American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2010. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/deviatedSeptum.cfm.
“Sinusitis – Causes.” University of Maryland Medical Center. Web. 22 Oct. 2010. http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_causes_sinusitis_000062_2.htm.