Do you have trouble smelling or tasting food? If so, you could have sinusitis. This inflammatory condition of the sinuses can be acute or chronic, and it can be caused by a number of factors, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, a low functioning immune system or allergies.
Here at Riviera Allergy Medical Center, Ulrike Ziegner, MD, routinely diagnoses and treats nasal issues. Read on to get a comprehensive guide about sinusitis.
Sinusitis is a condition in which the tissues lining the sinuses are inflamed. The condition can be acute or chronic.
Acute sinusitis lasts roughly three weeks and often resolves on its own. Acute sinusitis may occur a few times a year. Chronic sinusitis is long-lasting and tends to linger for more than 8 weeks. This distinction can provide a clue about whether you’re dealing with acute or chronic sinusitis.
Symptoms of sinusitis
- Stuffy nose
- Facial pressure
- Nasal discharge
- Post-nasal drip
- Facial tenderness
- Diminished taste
- Diminished sense of smell
Causes of sinusitis
- Viral infections
- Environmental pollutants
- Fungal and bacterial infections
- Nasal polyps
- Narrowed sinuses
- Low-functioning immune system
How sinusitis can impact smell and taste
Olfactory receptors are specialized cells that line the upper nasal cavity. They play an important role in your sense of smell and taste. Inhaling or sniffing stimulates olfactory cells that, in turn, transmit information via your sensory nervous system. Because the sinuses surround the nasal cavity, sinus inflammation can affect the olfactory receptors and impair your sense of smell and taste.
Taste cells and olfactory cells work together to communicate information about what you’re smelling and tasting. And when your sense of smell is diminished, your sense of taste can be affected, too.
How sinusitis can contribute to other health problems
Nasal issues can impact your overall health. Poor airflow can make breathing through your nose difficult and increase your risk of suffering from certain problems, such as sleep apnea, a condition characterized by frequent pauses in breathing during sleep.
Narrowed and clogged nasal passages can also increase your risk of suffering from complications of infection. Furthermore, lasting inflammation can damage the delicate tissues lining your sinuses. Last not least, the brain is in close anatomical vicinity to the sinuses, and an infection could easily spread from the sinuses to the brain, causing meningitis.
Treatment is key in relieving symptoms, such as nasal congestion and diminished taste and smell.
When you visit Riviera Allergy Medical Center for sinusitis, treatment may involve:
- Managing allergies
- Nasal steroids to reduce inflammation
- Saline irrigation to flush away irritants
- Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections
- Immunotherapy to reduce the immune system’s response to allergens
Sinusitis that fails to respond to any conventional treatments may require surgery.
If you’re experiencing nasal issues that last more than three weeks, or that go away only to return, it’s time to see a specialist. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Riviera Allergy Medical Center today.