Sinusitis is a frequently diagnosed acute condition. Most people will probably experience a sinus infection at some point in their lives. However, chronic sinusitis is less common. Considering it has nearly identical symptoms to many other illnesses, it can be difficult to know when to diagnose chronic sinusitis and when to look for other conditions. So, how is chronic sinusitis diagnosed?
There are a few factors that can make chronic sinusitis a more obvious diagnosis. First, if a patient has a history of sinus problems, this automatically makes them more susceptible to developing chronic sinusitis. Certain medical conditions also make it more common for sinus conditions to develop such as nasal polyps, a deviated septum, or cystic fibrosis.
Second, chronic sinusitis can only be diagnosed after a patient has experienced symptoms for at least three months. This constitutes a chronic condition versus acute or subacute sinus infection. With that said, some forms of recurrent sinusitis may be considered chronic.
Third, chronic sinusitis often has slightly less severe symptoms. For example, with an acute sinus infection, patients may have a fever and feel much worse. Chronic sinusitis can absolutely still have uncomfortable symptoms, but fevers are less common and the symptoms are less severe but do not go away or get better like they would with an acute infection.
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