Friday, February 3, 2012

What are the differences between sinusitis, rhinosinusitis and the common cold?

What are the differences between sinusitis, rhinosinusitis and the common cold?


Cold also known as viral upper respiratory tract infection, acute viral rhinopharyngitis, acute coryza, or common cold is a contagious, viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system mainly caused by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses. Symptoms include a sore throat, runny nose, and fever. There is no cure, however symptoms usually disappear spontaneously in 7 to 10 days. It is one of the most frequent infectious diseases in humans, with two to four infections a year in adults and up to 6 - 12 in children.



Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal passages, which may or may not be as a consequence of infection, from bacterial, fungal, viral, allergic or autoimmune issues.


Rhinosinusitis, however, is an inflammation of the nose and paranasal sinuses, the consequence of an infection, from bacterial, fungal, viral, allergic or autoimmune issues, characterized by nasal blockage, obstruction, congestion or nasal discharge (anterior or posterior nasal drip), with or without facial pain and pressure and/or reduction or loss of smell.
   Newer classifications of sinusitis refer to it as rhinosinusitis, taking into account the thought that inflammation of the sinuses cannot occur without some inflammation of the nose as well (rhinitis).

Acute Rhinosinusitis (ARS) lasts less than 12 weeks. It is usually an early upper respiratory tract infection of viral, bacterial or fungal aetiology. Viral Rhinosinusitis could be a common cold or acute viral rhinosinusitis (lasting from 7 to 10 days), while a non-viral rhinosinusitis presents an increase of symptoms after 5 days or persistence of symptoms after 10 days, but lasting less than 12 weeks.

Chronic Rhinosinusitis (with or without nasal polyps) (CRS) is when symptoms last more than 12 weeks without complete relief. It is usually produced by factors such as dust or pollution, aerobic and anaerobic bacterial infection, or fungus (either allergic, infective, or reactive). Non-allergic factors such as vasomotor rhinitis can also produce chronic sinus problems. Other etiologic factors are abnormally narrow sinus passages (such as a deviated septum), which can impede drainage from the sinus cavities.
Rhinosinusitis symptoms may include any combination of the following: nasal congestion; facial pain; headache; night-time coughing; an increase in previously minor or controlled asthma symptoms; general malaise; thick green or yellow discharge; feeling of facial 'fullness' or 'tightness' which may worsen on bending over; aching teeth, and/or halitosis. Chronic Rhinosinusitis can often lead to anosmia, a reduction in the ability to smell or detect odours. In a small number of cases, acute or chronic maxillary sinusitis is associated with a dental infection.
Other common symptoms include sinus headache. Acute and chronic sinusitis may be accompanied by thick purulent nasal discharge and localized headache (toothache) or migraine misdiagnosis. The confusion with migraine stems from activation of the trigeminal nerves, which innervate both the sinus region and also the meninges that surround the brain.

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