Anyone with asthma that is difficult to control should be evaluated for sinus disease.

Anyone with asthma that is difficult to control should be evaluated for sinus disease.

Chronic sinus disease in one of the most ignored diseases of our time. Recent figures from the U.S. Department of Public Health and Services indicate than nearly thirty-one million Americans have sinus disease, causing approximately an hundred thousand days lost from school and work per year. Sinusitis can be an important trigger of asthma in both children and adults, and its presence should be ruled out in any difficult to control asthma patient.


The sinuses are four paired cavities surrounding the. Each sinus has an opening, called an ostium that allows secretions from the sinus cavity to drain into the nose. The func­tions of the sinuses are varied, but they play a role in smell and taste, voice quality, and production of mucus. These air-filled sinuses also make our heads much lighter. The lining of the sinuses contains many mucus glands, which constantly secrete mucus. This mucus is propelled from the sinus cavity into the nose by the sweeping action of hair-like structures called cilia. When the movement of mucus out of a sinus cavity becomes impaired, mucus begins to accumulate, and the sinus cavity then becomes a fertile area for the growth of viruses and bacteria.

Acute sinus infection most commonly accompanies or follows a viral upper respiratory infection. Accumulation of mucus sets the stage for a secondary bacterial infection. Additional predispos­ing factors include allergic rhinitis or hay fever, deviation of the nasal septum, nasal fractures, nasal polyps, barotrauma from swimming and diving, and cigarette smoke.





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