Sinusitis affects 37 million people in the U.S. each year, making it one of the most common health problems.1 Sinusitis is more prevalent than heart disease or asthma, and it has a greater impact on quality of life than chronic back pain or congestive heart failure.2 Symptoms may significantly affect people physically, functionally, and emotionally.
The Role of the Sinuses
To understand sinusitis, it is important to first learn about your sinuses.
The sinuses are air spaces behind the bones of the upper face, between the eyes and behind the forehead, nose and cheeks. The sinuses are covered with a mucus layer and cells that contain little hairs on their surfaces called cilia. These help trap and push out bacteria and pollutants.
Each sinus has an opening that allows mucous to drain – this drainage is essential to keeping your sinuses working well and you healthy. Anything that obstructs the flow may cause a buildup of mucus in the sinuses and trigger sinusitis symptoms.
Experts agree that healthy sinuses are a key to a good quality of life and that unhealthy sinuses may cause some unwanted complications.
Sinusitis is defined as an inflammation of the sinus lining commonly caused by bacterial or viral infections and structural issues such as ostial (sinus opening) blockage. Symptoms include nasal congestion, facial discomfort, nasal discharge, headache, and fatigue.
Types of Sinusitis
There are two main categories of sinusitis: acute and chronic.
Sinusitis is usually preceded by a cold, allergy attack or irritation from environmental pollutants. Often, the resulting symptoms, such as nasal pressure, nasal congestion, a “runny nose,” and fever, run their course in a few days. However, if symptoms persist, a bacterial infection or acute sinusitis may develop.
Most cases of sinusitis are acute (or sudden onset); however, if the condition occurs frequently (more than 4 times each year) you may have recurrent acute sinusitis. If your sinusitis symptoms last 12 weeks or more, you may have chronic sinusitis.
Facts About Sinusitis
- Sinusitis affects approximately 14% of the adult U.S. population.3
- Sinusitis affects 17% of women and 10% of men each year.3
- Chronic sinusitis (not including acute sinusitis) results annually in an estimated 7 million physician office visits.1-4
- Direct healthcare expenditures due to sinusitis cost are well over $8 billion each year.*5
- Sinusitis is also responsible for a 38% loss of workplace productivity.6
- Total restricted activity days due to sinusitis are over 58 million per year.5
- 1. Benninger, M. et al. Adult chronic rhinosinusitis: Definitions, diagnosis, epidemiology, and pathophysiology. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2003; 129S: S1-S32
- 2. Soler, et al. Health state utility values in patients undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery. Laryngoscope 2011; 121: 2672-2678.
- 3. Pleis, JR. et al. Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2006. National Center for Health Statistics 2007. Vital Health Stat 10(235).
- 4. Bhattacharyya N. Clinical and symptom criteria for the accurate diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis. Laryngoscope 2006; 116(Suppl 110):1-22
- 5. Ray, N. et al. Healthcare expenditures for sinusitis in 1996: Contributions of asthma, rhinitis, and other airway disorders. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999; 103: 408-414. (Inflation Adjusted as per CPI to 2010 dollars.)
- 6. Stankiewicz J. et al. Impact of chronic rhinosinusitis on work productivity through one-year follow-up after balloon dilation of the ethmoid infundibulum. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol 2011; 1: 38-45