Over 35 million Americans suffer from sinus disease. The sinus cavity is a very sensitive space, located behind the eyes and ears and in between the ears. It serves the purpose of filtering airborne particles out of the air before reaching the lungs. The sinuses can become irritated easily by bacteria, allergies and environmental conditions. People who suffer with chronic sinus issues are considered to have sinus disease.
The sinuses are separated into three categories: bilateral, ethmoid and maxillary sinus cavities. The bilateral sinuses are just above the eyes, behind the forehead. The maxillary sinus cavity is located on either side of the nose, underneath the eyes and just above the roof of the mouth. The ethmoid sinuses are directly behind the eyes.
Bilateral sinus disease refers to the two sinus cavities directly above the eyes. In order for the sinus disease to be considered it must be in both sinus cavities. This is the typical sinus cavity that becomes infected with bacteria during the cold and flu season. The symptoms are congestion, thick-yellow nasal discharge, fever and head pain. It is treated with prescribed antibiotics for 10 to 14 days.
Ethmoid sinus disease effects the ethmoid sinus cavity. It is located directly behind the nose and is made of small pockets of space, much like a honeycomb. When the ethmoid sinus cavity becomes inflamed or infected it's considered ethmoid sinus disease. Typical symptoms include nasal congestion, loss of smell, infection and pain in the eyes and ears. If this condition goes untreated it can lead to the infection spreading throughout the other sinus cavities.
The maxillary sinus cavity is located below the nose and manifests itself with tenderness on the cheekbone, toothache and pain throughout the lower face. Maxillary sinus disease can lead to a gum infection or jaw pain. In severe cases, the pressure build up can damage the roots of the teeth and bone structure of the upper jaw. This condition is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and decongestants to reduce swelling in the cavity.
Complications of the bilateral, ethmoid and maxillary sinus cavities are chronic sinus infections, an abscess in the sinus cavity and infections spreading throughout the body. People with bilateral, ethmoid and maxillary sinus disease are more likely to develop a sinus infection. If the infection goes untreated, it can spread to the ears, the chest and the brain. Sinus disease may also cause an abscess in the sinus cavities, requiring surgery.