Chronic Sinusitis: Persistent sinus infection and pain
Causes of chronic sinusitis: sinus inflammation and drainage pathways
Chronic sinusitis describes a persistent (twelve plus weeks) swelling of the sinus and nasal drainage pathways that prevents normal sinus drainage, leading to a build-up of mucous, infection, and the painful symptoms associated with sinusitis.
In many chronic sinusitis cases, medical therapy fails to correct the underlying obstruction preventing drainage and causing infection and discomfort.
Living with persistent sinusitis: Impact on quality-of-life
The long duration of chronic sinusitis has a serious impact on sufferers. In studies comparing individuals with chronic conditions, sinusitis patients scored worse in measures of bodily pain and social functioning (ability to engage fully in social activities with friends and family) than patients with congestive heart failure.1
On a personal level, chronic sinusitis might mean skipping a social engagement with friends due to fatigue. Or another difficult conversation with your supervisor about using a sick day because of a sinus headache. Or not enjoying Sunday dinner with your children and grandchildren.
Toll of chronic sinusitis: High medical costs and lost productivity at work
The direct economic impact of chronic sinusitis is enormous. Total costs are estimated at over $5.8 billion annually, due to expenses from prescription medication and hospital visits, the purchase of over-the-counter remedies, and lost productivity. The average chronic sinusitis sufferer misses 28-51% more work days than the non-chronic sinusitis sufferer.2
When medication fails: New treatment option
In the past, chronic sinusitis sufferers had two choices - continue with ongoing, sometimes ineffective medical therapy, or undergo functional endoscopic sinus surgery in an operating room to remove tissue and bone from sinus openings and nasal passageways.
Now, balloon sinus dilation offers a new, life-altering choice for some chronic sinusitis patients - an in-office procedure under local anesthesia that opens the sinus pathways with a small balloon to restore drainage. Learn more about balloon sinus dilation.
1 Glicklick and Metson, The health impact of chronic sinusitis in patients seeking otolaryngologic care, Oto Head Neck Surg 1995:113:104-109
2 2 Bhattacharyya, Contemporary assessment of the disease burden of sinusitis, American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy 2009 23:4; 631-634