Pan sinus disease, more commonly known as pansinusitis, is the infection of all four of your paranasal sinuses at once. Many people develop it and some even suffer from chronic pan sinus disease. Although it is not uncommon, it can be a very serious, painful condition. To understand how serious, you must first understand more about the area it affects: the sinuses.
Structure and Function of the Sinuses
Your paranasal sinuses (also called just sinuses) are air-filled spaces or holes in your skull and nasal area. There are four types of sinuses: the maxillary sinuses, the frontal sinuses, the ethemoid sinuses and the sphenoid sinuses. There is debate over what purpose your sinuses actually serve, but it is generally thought that they increase the resonance of your voice and provide a buffer against blows to your head and face. They also insulate some sensitive cranial structures from temperature fluctuations, such as your eyes and the roots of your teeth. The paranasal sinuses are also lined with a membrane that secretes antibacterial mucus that protects your nasal cavity from allergens and other irritants that may be inhaled.
Pan sinus disease is simply sinusitis or sinus infection in all of your sinus cavities at once. Sinusitis occurs when the mucus membranes of the parasinus cavities become infected. It can be caused by either a bacterial or a fungal infection. Tooth abscesses, where the bacteria find its way through the mouth to the nasal cavity, can cause sinusitis. Inhaled allergens or irritants can also bring on sinusitis. Nasal blockages can also cause the mucus membranes in your parasinus cavities to malfunction.
Some common signs that you may have pan sinus disease are a nasal blockage or discharge. You may also experiences postnasal drip or excessive mucus being produced by your sinuses. Tooth aches or constant painful pressure in the sinus cavities are also symptoms. Some patients even experience foul breath, a sore throat or a hacking cough when they have pan sinus disease. Many of these symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, such as dental problems, colds or flu. A good rule of thumb is that, if mucus is involved, it is not about your teeth. And if you have what seems like a cold or flu but lasts longer than three days, it's probably some sort of sinusitis.
If your health care provider suspects pan sinus disease, he may perform a computed tomography scan (also called a CT scan) or X-rays to get a better look at your sinus area. He may go so far as to have your mucus analyzed to determine whether your infection is caused by one microorganism or several.
Once you have been diagnosed with pan sinus disease, your health care provider may prescribe oral antibiotics or corticosteroids to fight off the infection. You will most likely begin to feel better within a few days of taking the medication, but it is very important to finish out the prescription completely to avoid an immediate reoccurrence.
As nasal discharge accumulates in your sinus cavities, the situation becomes more dangerous. Because of the proximity of the sinus cavities to your brain, it is possible for nasal discharge to escape into the brain. In serious cases, an endoscopic sinus surgery will be performed to remove some of the buildup. This surgery can remove debris or polyps that sometimes form in the sinus area. Afterwards, you will see a marked improvement in breathing and sinus drainage.
Those who suffer from chronic pan sinus disease can experience symptoms several times a year. To avoid pan sinus disease, keep yourself hydrated. If your sinus mucus membranes are well hydrated, there is less chance that they will become infected. If you are prone to pan sinus disease, or any type of sinusitis, you should be on the lookout for the familiar symptoms of an oncoming sinus infection. If you think you have one coming on, apply warm compresses to your sinus cavities three times a day for up to five minutes each time. This should break up any mucus blockages and promote healthy circulation.