Are Your Sinuses Sick?
Written By: Tamara
June 28, 2011
What Can Cause Chronic Sinus Problems?
Do you know that more than 37 million people in the United States suffer from sinusitis or chronic sinus problems every year? What makes your sinuses sick? It would be helpful to know, so you can be proactive in maintaining healthy sinuses. Since sinus health affects your overall quality of life, we’ve created a multi-week blog series on what makes your sinuses sick and the available holistic remedies that can help chronic sinus suffers. This week we are starting with an overview of what can cause chronic sinus problems.
What Are Your Sinus Culprits?
Those of us with previous sinus issues are at greater risk for developing sinusitis. Sinusitis is inflammation of the para-nasal sinuses,which may be due toÂ allergies, infection or an autoimmune issue. So what contributes to 37 million people dealing with sinusitis every year? The list is pretty long and includes: getting a cold or flu, cigarettes and other smoke sources, dental problems, fungi, bacteria, allergens and allergies, viruses, structural malformations, air pollution, excessive dry or cold air, indoor air pollution, occupational hazards, immune deficiencies, and emotional stress.
- Colds and Flu: Bacterial sinusitis can develop after an allergy attack or a lengthy cold or flu. The excess mucous your body produces when you are sick becomes stagnant and builds up in your sinuses, creating pressure, pain and a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Cigarettes and Smoke Sources: If you smoke or are around second-hand smoke, you are creating a situation that can continually aggravate your sinuses and put you at risk for chronic sinus problems and a depressed immune system.
- Fungi: Inhaling or ingesting microscopic fungi, such as mold spores, affects your immune system and aggravates your sinuses.
- Bacteria: When your sinuses are blocked it creates an ideal environment for bacterial growth, which prevents the cilia from functioning properly. This causes the mucous membranes to swell and become painful.
- Allergens and Allergies: Allergens/allergies such as air-borne particles, pet dander and foods can trigger sinusitis.
- Viruses: A viral infection can damage or hinder your sinus cilia causing mucous congestion and pain.
- Structural Malformations: Structural problems in the nasal cavities can include a deviated septum, blockage from polyps or a very narrow sinus opening which causes difficulty in breathing.
- Air Pollution: The affects of inhaling particulate matter such as: carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and hydrocarbons due to air pollution can greatly affect your sinus health.
- Dry Air: Lack of humidity in your air supply (below 40%) can hamper the proper functioning of your mucous membranes.
- Cold Air: Cold air can shock the mucous membranes and affect the performance of the cilia in your nose.
- Indoor Air Pollution: This group of pollutants will be a blog on their own and includes many of the household fumes and chemicals we deal with on a daily basis.
- Occupational Hazards: Any job performed in dirty, dry, or extremely hot/cold air can make us prone to chronic sinus problems.
- Immune Deficiencies: An immune deficiency can prevent cilia from functioning normally, making us more prone to sinus infections. This becomes a chicken or egg issue as to whether immune system problems come first or are a result of impaired sinus function.
- Emotional Stress: Since stress affects our entire body, including our immune system, negative stress can make us more prone to chronic sinus problems by lowering our immune response or making our bodies have a hyper-immune response to allergens.
At Baraka, we believe in educating ourselves and then passing on our knowledge to our customers so you can make educated decisions about your health. Look for our blog next week discussing some of the hazards to your sinus health and how to avoid the causes of chronic sinus problems. Here’s to your health!