Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the nasal sinuses (the hallow cavities around the cheekbones, eyes, and nose), which may or may not be the result of an infection. Today, sinusitis is often referred to as "rhinosinusitis," since inflammation of the sinuses cannot occur without some rhinitis (inflammation of the nose) as well.
Sinusitis is most common during the winter season, and it may last for months or even years if not treated properly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 18 million visits to primary care physicians result in a sinusitis diagnoses each year.
There is an association between sinusitis and asthma, according to the CDC. Researchers estimate that more than 50% of patients with moderate-to-severe asthma also suffer from chronic sinusitis.
Allergic fungal sinusitis:
Individuals who are allergic to fungi can develop allergic fungal sinusitis. This type of sinusitis is uncommon and usually occurs in individuals who have compromised (weakened) immune systems. However, recently, the occurrence of fungal sinusitis has increased in the general population. The most common pathogens are from Aspergillus and Mucor species. This condition is usually chronic (lasts longer than eight weeks) and recurrent.
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Acute: Acute sinusitis lasts for less than six months, and it is usually caused by a bacterial infection. Most cases of sinusitis are acute. When symptoms last between four and eight weeks, the condition is considered to be subacute.
Chronic: Symptoms of chronic sinusitis last eight weeks or longer, and the severity varies. Symptoms of acute and chronic sinusitis are very similar, except chronic sinusitis symptoms last longer and often cause more fatigue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic sinusitis affects nearly 35 million people in the United States.
When an individual suffers from three or more episodes of acute sinusitis per year, the condition is referred to as recurrent sinusitis.