Barometric Pressure & Sinus Problems

Sudden changes in barometric pressure caused by weather or altitude will impact your sinus cavities in several ways. While some people may experience no symptoms at all, you may feel added sinus pressure and have the aggravation of existing sinus infections. If you are affected with sinus-related conditions, pay close attention to how your nasal passages function in inclement weather and increased altitude. This will help you avoid potentially high risk medical situations that may arise from blocked sinus passages and infections.

Pressure Headaches

Changes in air pressure (commonly as a result of altitude) alter the body's oxygen levels. The body attempts to regulate those levels by releasing oxygen stored in your sinus cavities to alleviate pressure on the hollow bones of the face. The problem arises from nasal passages being blocked due to sudden shifts in barometric pressure and the trapped oxygen having nowhere to escape from. This causes the pain above the eyes, nose and jaw that is referred to as a "pressure headache."


Barometric Pressure & Sinus Problems

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Changes in barometric pressure can aggravate sinusitis. If you suffer from this condition, you usually have clogged or more highly congested sinus cavities. Sudden drops in barometric pressure (as is common with approaching storms) will result in the swelling of the lining of your nasal passages; you will get what is known as a "sinus headache." Since the purpose of the sinus cavities is to keep the head "light," the feeling of having them clogged is often described as having a heavy head. This leads to increased fatigue and may lead to migraine headaches. Sinusitis is difficult to treat and often requires a lengthy regimen of antibiotics. Even after the infection has cleared, swelling of the nasal passages may remain for several weeks.

Bleeding into the Sinuses

Arterial blood supply can be compromised by sudden increases or drops in barometric pressure. The lining of the sinus cavities becomes inflamed to the point that it affects the body's ability to send adequate blood supply to the nasal passages which can cause it to divert elsewhere, such as the sinus cavity. This results in blood in your mucus. It also means there is an inadequate amount of white blood cells in the area to fight an existing infection like sinusitis. In these cases, it is imperative to seek medical attention as an unchecked sinus infection can quickly spread to the brain and pose a potentially fatal health risk.