Ethmoid Sinus Disease

What Ethmoid Sinus Disease Means

Ethmoid sinus disease is a medical term we don't hear too often though it is really not all that uncommon. In the area around out nose and eyes are four sets of sinus cavities. The ethmoid sinuses are located between the eyes and consist of small pockets of bubbles, a honeycomb arrangement of sorts. The ethmoid cavities perform a vital function in that they release mucus which contains antibodies that serve to prevent bacteria from entering and infecting the nasal passages.

Ethmoiditis - Occasionally the ethmoid sinuses themselves may become infected or inflamed, a condition which is known as ethmoid sinus disease, also called ethmoiditis, which can be, and normally is, mild, but can also be severe and require treatment. A milder form of ethmoid sinus disease is the common cold, other common causes of inflammation include allergens such as pet dander, smoke, and pollen. Polyps in the nasal cavities can also lead to problems by blocking or partially blocking the ethmoid cavities, allowing bacteria to become trapped in the tiny bubbles and air spaces, leading to inflammation or possibly more serious effects.

Ethmoid sinus disease is often lumped into a set of inflammatory diseases of the sinuses, usually referred to as sinusitis, a rather common affliction. Acute sinusitis is usually a temporary occurrence often requiring little or no treatment, but chronic sinusitis, which may well be centered in the ethmoid sinus cavities, often requires treatment of one kind or another, especially if a fever is one of the symptoms experienced. In many cases ethmoid sinus disease responds favorably to decongestants and nasal sprays.

When Surgery May Be Needed - Where medications do not effectively treat inflammation or swelling, or relieve pain which can sometime accompany other symptoms surgery is sometime required, though the need for surgery is fortunately somewhat rare. Surgery is usually called for if the case of ethmoid sinus disease or sinusitis appears to be getting progressively worse, and doesn't respond to medication. This often indicates the formation of an abscess in the sinus cavity or in nearby areas. An abscess which cannot be effectively controlled can present a danger to the patient given the proximity of the sinus cavities to the brain. In extreme cases the ethmoid cavity bubbles may have to be surgically removed, a procedure known as an ethmoidectomy.

In most cases of ethmoid sinus disease, bacteria is the responsible agent with about half the cases involving either Streptococcus pneumoniae or Haemophilus influenzae bacteria, both of which may be controlled by vaccines. In other cases, especially where allergens are at fault, fungal pathogens may be at the root of the problem.

Prevention Of Ethmoid Sinus Disease - Prevention of ethmoid sinus disease is most often a matter of practicing good hygiene and avoiding known allergens to the extent possible. Contact with those affected by an infections sinus disorder, including the common cold, should be kept to a minimum where possible. In some instances vaccines offer a degree of protection against various pathogens which cause sinus diseases. Obviously it is nearly impossible to isolate one's self completely against sinusitis or incidents of ethmoid sinus disease, but by taking whatever preventive measures are practical an occurrence of chronic ethmoid disease may be averted.

Seek Medical Attention In Serious Cases - The important thing is to seek medical attention if the symptoms appear to be worsening, especially if pain is being felt in the area around the eyes, or in the area of the forehead, if a fever is present, or headaches make an appearance. Serious complications are rare, but by seeking medical attention early, the  onset of a chronic ethmoid sinus condition may be prevented.