Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Epistaxis (Nosebleed)

Epistaxis, an otolaryngologic emergency, means to bleed from the nasal cavity or nostrils. However, only a small percentage of cases are fatal and serious. The cause and form of the bleeding depends on the patient’s age. Since epistaxis is attributed to other diseases, a complete medical examination is necessary to find the appropriate cause.

Symptoms of sinus infectionsmay cause nosebleed in both children and adults.  Some of the patients are more prone to nose bleeding than others. Both systemic and local agents cause nosebleed. Systemic factors include hemophilia, hereditary hemorrhagic telaniectasia, liver disease, sarcoidosis and Wegener granulomatosis. Local factors comprise atrophic rhinitis, chronic inflammation, external and internal trauma, foreign bodies, low humidity and neoplasma.
Types of epistaxis
Nosebleed is divided into tow categories: anterior and posterior. The source of anterior nosebleed lies in the nostrils and that of posterior in the back of the nose.
Anterior nosebleed
The wall separating the nostrils contains several blood vessels susceptible to injuries. On many occasions, factors causing nosebleed may not be evident. However, a number of factors can trigger the bleeding. For instance,
  • a minor nose injury,
  • congenitally crooked nose,
  • crooked nose due to deviated septum,
  • influenza,
  • nasal congestion due to an infection
  • hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • overuse of nasal decongestants to treat symptoms of sinus infections
  • picking the nose,
  • blowing the nose,
  • high altitude, and
  • snorting drugs.
Children are more susceptible to anterior nosebleed.
Posterior nosebleed
Posterior nosebleed, heavy bleeding from the back of the nose, is more serious condition than the anterior. The bleeding starts from the artery branches supplying blood to the area located between the nasal cavity and the mouth’s roof. Head injuries, head fall, nasal surgery, hypertension and nasal cavity tumor may cause posterior nosebleed. The posterior condition is more common in adult patients than the younger. It requires a visit to the physician.
Nosebleed can be prevented. Try the following:
Do not pick the nose.
Do not blow the nose hard when it is blocked owing to hay fever or cold.
Wear protective gear while playing rugby, boxing and other sports, where chances of the nose injury are high.
While using nasal decongestants, follow all the instructions.
When nosebleeds turn into “a crust” causing irritation within the nose, do not scratch the nose. Otherwise, bleeding will start again.
Humidify your home and work space, and moisturize the nose. This will prevent the dryness that is another cause of nosebleed.
Treat the Symptoms of sinus infections  well in time.

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