Your Nose Knows

We have a tendency to self-diagnosis ourselves, even though most people in Las Vegas are not doctors. Dusty air making you sneeze? “I’ve got sinuses!” you might say. Well, yes – we all have sinuses. Four pairs, actually. These hollow cavities in the skull help humidify and filter the air we breathe. They are also prone to infection and disease.

What are the Sinuses?

profile of a woman's face

There are four different types of sinuses in the human body. The largest, called the maxillary sinuses, are found in the cheekbones. The frontal sinuses are located in the center of your forehead, the ethmoid sinuses are between your eyes and the sphenoid sinuses can be found in the bones behind your nose.

An infection of the sinuses is called sinusitis. This condition may be acute (lasting a short duration) or chronic (persisting for longer than 12 weeks). Sinusitis is marked by pain, swelling, nasal congestion and headaches. It can be extremely uncomfortable and may require surgical treatment if it is recurring and medical intervention doesn’t help.

The sinuses are just one part of the incredible organ we call the nose.

Functions of the Nose

The nose is part of the respiratory system and serves many functions. Air passing over the cells of the olfactory system triggers the brain to identify smells, but there’s a lot more to the nose than simply letting us know when those freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies are ready to come out of the oven.

The nose acts as a filter, trapping particles in the mucous membrane that lines the nasal cavity and then cleaning them. It also works works as a thermostat that regulates the temperature of the air you breathe. If you’re living in a cold climate and the outside temperature is 10 degrees, your nose is going to heat up the air to 98.6 degrees. Quite a feat for so small an organ!

The nose is also susceptible to a variety of medical problems; these include nasal polyps, deviated septum and nosebleeds. Colds, allergies and upper respiratory infections can all cause nasal congestion or a runny nose. Our sense of smell affects taste, which is why foods often taste bland or unappealing when we are sick.

Your Las Vegas ear, nose and throat doctor knows that all three organs are closely connected. A disease that affects one area is likely to spread to other regions as well. This is exactly why we shouldn’t attempt to self-diagnose; a blocked ear could indicate anything from a sinus infection to a nasal tumor.

If you are experiencing sinus issues or other problems with your nose, schedule an appointment with an ENT specialist in Las Vegas.