Almost 29 million Americans a year get a sinus infection, also known as sinusitis. A little over 4 million of them need a doctor’s help and an antibiotic to beat it. Often, that does the job, and the problem is solved. But when sinusitis keeps coming back, or worse, it won’t go away at all, it becomes a chronic condition that can lead to some serious complications.
If you’ve been suffering from recurrent or long-term sinus problems, you need a specialist to diagnose the issue and treat it with skill and expertise. In Staten Island and New York, New York, there’s no better choice than Robert A. Guida, MD, one of the most experienced and respected double board-certified plastic and rhinoplasty surgeons in the state.
He urges anyone with chronic sinus problems to come in for a comprehensive evaluation, because without it, sinus issues can cause even more problems. Here are the dangers of ignoring your chronic sinusitis.
Understanding chronic sinusitis
Your sinuses are a network of eight small cavities that drain mucus all day long. If something blocks them, say inflammation or damaged tissue, the mucus builds up and bacteria set up shop. Acute sinusitis goes away on its own or after a course of antibiotics, but chronic sinusitis doesn’t respond well to this treatment.
Dr. Guida conducts a complete exam and also discusses your symptoms. To be considered a chronic sinus problem, the first criterion is that it has lasted at least 12 weeks. Other signs of chronic sinusitis include:
- Green or yellow mucus
- Postnasal drip
- Hardened mucus in your nose
- Trouble breathing
- Pain in your face
- Loss of taste or smell
- Foul taste in your mouth
- Bad breath
Headaches are also common with both acute and chronic sinusitis. If your sinus problems are due to a common cold or seasonal allergies, you can expect the symptoms to subside when the issue resolves. But if you have a structural problem in your nasal passages, such as a deviated septum, or abnormal tissue growth, such as polyps, you need more than medicine to treat the problem.
Complications of chronic sinus problems
Sinusitis is an infection, and infections that go unchecked can wreak havoc in your body. A long-term infection in your sinuses can easily spread to other areas and cause serious consequences, such as:
Loss of smell and taste
Your ability to smell and taste depends on your olfactory nerve, which is directly connected to your central nervous system, so it’s important to treat any infection in or near this nerve. If your chronic sinusitis damages your olfactory nerve, you may end up with permanent loss of smell and taste.
Sinus infections that travel to your eye tissue can damage your optic nerve and result in blindness.
Sinus infections that spread into your central nervous system may inflame the tissues in your brain and spinal cord, a condition called meningitis. From there, it can spread quickly throughout your body and can be fatal within 24 hours if not arrested.
Studies show that out-of-control chronic sinusitis can even spread to your bones. The infection enters your bloodstream through the tiny vessels in your nasal passages, which sets the bacteria free to travel throughout your body, including your bones.
Treating chronic sinus problems
When medications don’t relieve your symptoms, and Dr. Guida discovers the culprit is structural or related to tissue damage, he may recommend sinus surgery. If you’re a good candidate for this procedure, rest assured you’re in the best hands. Dr. Guida uses the latest technology and his years of experience to treat your nasal problems.
Using a very slender endoscope to guide the way, he performs the procedure with a minimally invasive technique that precisely removes damaged tissue while leaving healthy tissue intact.
If you’ve been suffering from more than four sinus infections a year, snore a lot, have sleep apnea, or have problems breathing, schedule a consultation online, or call us at either location to set up an appointment with Dr. Guida. It’s the best way to find out what’s going on in your nose and whether sinus surgery is the right treatment.