Rhinosinusitis makes your head heavy?

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Popularly known as sinusitis, rhinosinusitis is characterized by an infectious bacterial process that inflames the cavities around the nasal passages. But why is it that, when you have the disease, there is a feeling of heaviness in the head, among other symptoms?

The skull region is formed by bony cavities around the nose, cheekbones and eyes.

The sinuses give resonance to the voice, heat the inhaled air and reduce the weight of the skull, which facilitates its support. That’s why the individual who presents an infectious picture of rhinosinusitis feels the head heaviness: the nasal cavities are swollen and inflamed and the sinuses cannot drain the mucus, which may cause accumulation, feeling of heaviness and pain.

Due to the feeling of heaviness and pain in the head, depending on the intensity of these symptoms, some people confuse a picture of rhinosinusitis with meningitis, an even more severe disease. In very rare cases, when the disease is not treated correctly, it can progress to bacterial meningitis, but the disorders are different.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache that may be severe, and stiff neck, as well as nausea, vomiting, altered mental status, and increased sensitivity to light.

Rhinosinusitis, on the other hand, has classic signs such as headache in the area of the most compromised sinus – the pain can be strong, stabbing, pulsating or a feeling of pressure or heaviness in the head -; nasal obstruction with the presence of bloody yellow or greenish secretions, which makes breathing difficult; fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough, muscle pain and loss of appetite.

What can cause rhinosinusitis?

The flow of mucous secretion from the sinuses is permanent and imperceptible. Anatomical changes, which prevent the drainage of secretion, and infectious or allergic processes, which cause inflammation of the mucous membranes and facilitate the installation of opportunistic germs, are factors that predispose to rhinosinusitis.

Dr. Ana Paula Fiuza Funicello Dualibi explains that if the disease is not properly treated, it can progress to more serious complications. “Do not neglect and seek medical attention if you experience symptoms such as headache, facial pain or pressure, nasal obstruction or congestion, purulent nasal discharge, fever, halitosis, earache or pressure in the ears, cough and fatigue, among other classic symptoms of the disease”, he details .

However, the individual who presents these affections should not undergo the treatment itself without medical supervision. The doctor warns of the risk of self-medication without proper prescription. “Never use medication of any kind without the guidance of a specialist doctor. Only the professional who is an expert in the area has the seal and technical and scientific knowledge to indicate the best treatment according to the patient’s profile and the symptoms presented”, she emphasizes. 

The best way to avoid rhinosinusitis is to keep your nasal mucosa hydrated and take good care of your health. Eat healthily with reduced sugar and salt and increased intake of natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and greens; drink a lot of water; wash the hands; avoid strong smells; keep the environment clean and airy at all times; make sure your pets (if you have one) bathe frequently to avoid hair buildup; get vaccinated against the flu; leave the house warmly wrapped in the rainy season; eliminate smoking; practice physical exercises and cleanse your nose with saline solution.

Doctor Ana Paula Fiuza Funicello Dualibi graduated from PUC-SP and has a degree in Otorhinolaryngology and a doctorate from Unifesp – Federal University of São Paulo.

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