Tag Archives: Paranasal sinuses

Mucus

 

Definition:
Mucus is a slippery secretion produced by, and covering, mucous membranes. Mucous fluid is typically produced from mucous cells found in mucous glands. Mucous cells secrete products that are rich in glycoproteins and water. Mucous fluid may also originate from mixed glands, which contain both serous and mucous cells. It is a viscous colloid containing antiseptic enzymes (such as lysozyme), proteins such as lactoferrin, glycoproteins known as mucins that are produced by goblet cells in the mucous membranes and submucosal glands, immunoglobulins, and inorganic salts. This mucus serves to protect epithelial cells in the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, visual, and auditory systems in mammals; the epidermis in amphibians; and the gills in fish. A major function of this mucus is to protect against infectious agents such as fungi, bacteria and viruses. The average human body produces about a litre of mucus per day.

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Bony fish, hagfish, snails, slugs and some other invertebrates also produce external mucus. In addition to serving a protective function against infectious agents, such mucus provides protection against toxins produced by predators, can facilitate movement and may play a role in communication.

In the respiratory system mucus aids in the protection of the lungs by trapping foreign particles that enter it, particularly through the nose, during normal breathing. “Phlegm” is a specialized term for mucus that is restricted to the respiratory tract, while the term “mucus” more globally describes secretions of the nasal passages.

Nasal mucus is produced by the nasal mucosa, and mucal tissues lining the airways (trachea, bronchus, bronchioles) is produced by specialized airway epithelial cells (goblet cells) and submucosal glands. Small particles such as dust, particulate pollutants, and allergens as well as infectious agents such as bacteria are caught in the viscous nasal or airway mucus and prevented from entering the system. This event along with the continual movement of the respiratory mucus layer toward the oropharynx, helps prevent foreign objects from entering the lungs during breathing. Additionally, mucus aids in moisturizing the inhaled air and prevents tissues such as the nasal and airway epithelia from drying out. Nasal and airway mucus is produced constitutively, with most of it swallowed unconsciously, even when it is dried.

Increased mucus production in the respiratory tract is a symptom of many common illnesses, such as the common cold and influenza. Similarly, hypersecretion of mucus can occur in inflammatory respiratory diseases such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic bronchitis. The presence of mucus in the nose and throat is normal, but increased quantities can impede comfortable breathing and must be cleared by blowing the nose or expectorating phlegm from the throat. Tears are also a component of nasal mucus.

Diseases involving mucus:-
Generally nasal mucus is clear and thin, serving to filter air during inhalation. During times of infection, mucus can change colour to yellow or green either as a result of trapped bacteria, or due to the body’s reaction to viral infection.

In the case of bacterial infection, the bacterium becomes trapped in already clogged sinuses, breeding in the moist, nutrient-rich environment. Antibiotics may be used to treat the secondary infection in these cases, but will generally not help with the original cause.

In the case of a viral infection such as cold or flu, the first stage and also the last stage of the infection causes the production of a clear, thin mucus in the nose or back of the throat. As the body begins to react to the virus (generally one to three days), mucus thickens and may turn yellow or green. In viral infections, antibiotics will not be useful, and are a major avenue for misuse. Treatment is generally symptom-based; often it is sufficient to allow the immune system to fight off the virus over time.

Cystic fibrosis:.CLICK & SEE
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the entire body, but symptoms begin mostly in the lungs with extremely viscous (thick) production of mucus which is difficult to expel.

Mucus as a medical symptom:
Increased mucus production in the upper respiratory tract is a symptom of many common ailments, such as the common cold. Nasal mucus may be removed by blowing the nose or by using traditional methods of nasal irrigation. Excess nasal mucus, as with a cold or allergies may be treated cautiously with decongestant medications. Excess mucus production in the bronchi and bronchioles, as may occur in asthma, bronchitis or influenza, may be treated with anti-inflammatory medications as a means of reducing the airway inflammation which triggers mucus over-production. Thickening of mucus as a “rebound” effect following overuse of decongestants may produce nasal or sinus drainage problems and circumstances that promote infection. Mucus with any color other than clear or white is generally an indicator of an infection of the nasal mucosa, the paranasal sinus or, if produced via a productive cough, of a lower respiratory tract infection.

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Cold weather and mucus:……..CLICK & SEE
During cold weather, the cilia which normally sweep mucus away from the nostrils and towards the back of the throat (see respiratory epithelium) become sluggish or completely cease functioning. This results in mucus running down the nose and dripping (a runny nose). Mucus also thickens in cold weather; when an individual comes in from the cold, the mucus thaws and begins to run before the cilia begin to work again.

Digestive system:….
In the digestive system, mucus is used as a lubricant for materials which must pass over membranes, e.g., food passing down the esophagus. A layer of mucus along the inner walls of the stomach is vital to protect the cell linings of that organ from the highly acidic environment within it. The same protective layer of mucus is what comes out when you sneeze. Mucus does not digest in the intestinal tract. Mucus is also secreted from glands within the rectum due to stimulation of the mucous membrane within.
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Diseases Associated With Mucus in the Bowel
Reproductive system:
In the female reproductive system, cervical mucus prevents infection. The consistency of cervical mucus varies depending on the stage of a woman’s menstrual cycle. At ovulation cervical mucus is clear, runny, and conducive to sperm; post-ovulation, mucus becomes thicker and is more likely to block sperm.

In the male reproductive system, the seminal vesicles contribute up to 100% of the total volume of the semen and contain mucus, amino acids, prostaglandins, vitamin C, and fructose as the main energy source for the sperm.
You may click to see :What Is The Function Of The Pinocytic Vesicles

You may also click to see :-
Empty nose syndrome
Spinnbarkeit
Mucoadhesion
Mucophagy

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mucophagy

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Those Painful Sinuses

Doctors have a lot of work in the winter months with the low temperatures, the monsoon, and the festivals with smoky fireworks. Almost everyone complains of colds and “sinusitis”.

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We have four pairs of sinuses that drain into the nasal cavity: frontal above the nose, maxillary in the cheekbone area, ethmoidal at the roof of the nose and between the orbits of the eyes, and sphenoidal on the sides of the forehead near the corner of the eyes. Sinuses are present at birth and continue to grow and develop until adolescence. They are, in fact, useful as they contain air, which helps to modulate the pitch and timber of the voice. They also reduce the total weight of the skull, which would otherwise be composed of heavy solid bone. They are lined with mucous membranes similar to that in the nose.

Sinuses may become inflamed as a result of viral infections, which are likely to occur with seasonal changes. A “cold” causes the nose to clog up and the natural orifices through which secretions from the sinus drain get blocked. Acute allergies to pollen, smoke, room fresheners and mosquito repellents compound the blockage. As the membrane swells, it exudes mucoid secretions which fill the sinus.

The space in the sinus is limited on all sides by rigid bone, leaving no room for expansion. The typical throbbing headache develops, and worsens on changing positions as the mucous shifts around. These clogged secretions may become secondarily infected by bacteria.

Sinusitis produces a nasal block, a thick yellow or green discharge, a troublesome sleep-disturbing night cough, fever and swelling over the affected sinuses. It can also cause bad breath, which persists despite brushing the teeth or using mouthwashes.

Acute sinusitis can be completely cured in 30 days with treatment — adequate doses of appropriate antibiotics for 10-14 days. If the treatment is discontinued after a few doses as relief is obtained, the infection tends to recur.

Recurrent sinusitis occurs in cycles with at least a 10-day, symptom-free intervening period. It occurs when there is exposure to the allergen again and again, perpetuating a cycle of nose blocks, infections, treatment and relief.

Sinusitis is labelled as chronic only if it persists for more than 90 days. It can be caused by a variety of bacteria or even fungi. It is rare in normal healthy individuals unless there is an aggravating factor. Pus from an infected untreated tooth, particularly in the upper jaw, can burrow into the maxillary sinus.

Some people have a deviated nasal septum (the partition between the two halves of the nose is not straight). This can be present from birth. It may develop as a result of injury. The small openings draining the sinuses may become blocked by the bent nose. Allergies, which are untreated and chronic, can cause permanently swollen nasal mucosa. This can form grape-like swellings called polyps. Children sometimes insert stones, peas, erasers and other objects into their nose. They can remain wedged, unsuspected and undiagnosed, causing a permanent nose block and sinusitis. Swollen adenoids can also perpetuate sinusitis.

Treatment of sinusitis is likely to succeed only if the aggravating factors are removed. Drainage of the infected material also has to be facilitated. This can be done by using nasal drops. Saline nasal drops are the safest and can be used as often as required. Nasal drops containing chemicals like oxymetaxoline, xylometazoline or ephedrine should be used 3-4 times a day only for the first three to four days, if at all.

Although immediate relief is obtained, in the long run habituation occurs. The nose does not open up even when the drops are used.

Continuous use can also cause rebound congestion. If the nasal mucosa is permanently swollen because of chronic allergy, the newer, non-absorbed steroid nasal sprays are helpful. Steam inhalations and humidifiers also help with liquefaction of the secretions and drainage.

Pain over the sinuses, fever and headache all respond well to paracetemol, which is sold under a variety of trade names. The dose of paracetemol is 500mg three to four times a day for adults and 10-15mg/kg/dose for children.

Sinusitis because of allergy or a viral infection does not need antibiotics. Antbiotics should be used for bacterial infections. Eradication of an infection is difficult, as sinuses are closed spaces. Antibiotics have to be carefully selected and need to be given for 10-14 days for a complete cure. Immunisation covers two of the organisms (H. Influenza and pneumococcus) which can cause sinusitis. This means that children who have been completely immunised are unlikely to be infected by these organisms.

Decongestants and mucous liquefying agents are also helpful if used in addition to other medicines. Antihistamines are not useful, as they tend to dry up the secretions, making them sticky and adherent.

Sinusitis, allergies and respiratory ailments all decrease in frequency and intensity with regular aerobic exercise, like 40 minutes of jogging, swimming or running daily.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the nasal sinuses-the hollow cavities found within the cheek bones and near the eyes. The inflammation is usually triggered by inadequate draining due to allergies, infections or structural problems of the nose such as narrow drainage passages or a deviated septum. Sinuses help warm, moisten and filter the air in the nasal cavity and also add resonance to certain sounds. . If you recognize a symptom in yourself or your child, see an specialist for a proper examination and diagnosis.

Normally, mucus collecting in the sinuses drains into the nasal passages. When you have a cold or allergy attack, your sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain. This can lead to congestion and infection. Diagnosis of acute sinusitis usually is based on a physical examination and a discussion of your symptoms. Your doctor also may use x-rays of your sinuses or obtain a sample of your nasal discharge to test for bacteria.The major signs indicating sinusitis are:

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1.Your cold has lasted more than seven days and is accompanied by cough, fever, headache, toothache, facial pain, green or gray nasal drainage, or post-nasal drip.

2. You have lost your sense of smell and taste and have bad breath accompanied by chronic congestion. In children, increased irritability and vomiting occurs with gagging on mucus and/or a prolonged cough.

Although colds are the most common cause of acute sinusitis, it is more likely that people with allergies will develop sinusitis. Allergies can trigger inflammation of the sinuses and nasal mucous linings. This inflammation prevents the sinus cavities from clearing out bacteria, and increases your chances of developing secondary bacterial sinusitis. If you test positive for allergies, your physician can prescribe appropriate medications to control your symptoms, thereby reducing the risk of developing an infection. People with sinus problems and allergies should avoid environmental irritants such as tobacco smoke and strong chemical odors, which may increase symptoms.

Structural problems in the nose—such as narrow drainage passages, tumors or polyps, or a deviated nasal septum (the bone and cartilage between the left and right sides of the nose)—may be another cause of sinusitis. Surgery is sometimes needed to correct these problems. Many patients with recurring or chronic sinusitis have more than one factor that predisposes them to infection. So, addressing only one factor may not be sufficient.

Diagnosis
Even if symptoms seem to be localized to the sinuses, the sinuses are not always infected. To make a correct diagnosis, a physician will take a detailed history and perform a physical examination. The physician may also order tests, if indicated. These tests can include allergy testing, sinus X-ray, CT scans (which make precise images of the sinus cavities), or a sampling of the nasal secretions or lining.

The physician also may perform an endoscopic examination. This involves inserting a narrow, flexible fiber-optic scope into the nasal cavity through the nostrils, which allows the physician to view the area where the sinuses and middle ear drain into the nose in an easy, painless, “patient friendly” manner.

Treatment
Sinus infections generally require a combination of therapies. In addition to prescribing an antibiotic when the sinusitis is caused by bacterial infection, your physician may prescribe a medication to reduce blockage or control allergies. This will help keep the sinus passages open. This medicine may be a decongestant, a mucus-thinning medicine or a cortisone nasal spray. Antihistamines, cromolyn and topical steroid nasal sprays help control allergic inflammation.

For people with allergies, long-term treatment to control and reduce allergic symptoms can also be effective in preventing the development of sinusitis. This treatment may include immunotherapy (also called “allergy shots”), anti-inflammatory medications, decongestants, and environmental control measures. Preventative use of low dose antibiotics and sinus drainage medications during times when symptoms will likely be worse, such as winter, also may prevent sinusitis.

Several non-drug treatments can also be VERY helpful. These include breathing in hot, moist air, applying hot packs and washing the nasal cavities with salt water. In cases of obstructed sinus passages that may require surgery, your allergist/immunologist may refer you to an otorhinolaryngologist, or an ear-nose-throat physician (ENT).

Sinusitis vs. rhinitis
Although many symptoms are similar, sinusitis differs from allergic rhinitis, known as “hay fever,” or non-allergic (vasomotor) rhinitis. Rhinitis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose—not the sinuses. Allergic rhinitis is caused by allergies and is often characterized by a runny nose, sneezing and congestion, and itchy eyes, nose, throat and inner ears. Non-allergic rhinitis is characterized by a swollen, inflamed nasal lining overflowing clear nasal drainage and a stuffy nose. It may be triggered by irritants such as smoke, changes in barometric pressure or temperature, or overuse of over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays. Poorly controlled chronic or recurring rhinitis can lead to sinusitis.

As you can see, symptoms of sinusitis can vary depending on the severity of the inflammation and the sinuses involved—all of the symptoms listed above may be present, or only a few. It’s best to consult your physician promptly if any of the described symptoms of sinusitis develop.

Some Good Folk Remedies that Cure Sinus Congestion
Some Herbal Sinus Remedies

Home remedy many times works well.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

( Help taken from:http://www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/tips/sinusitis.stm )

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