Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Health Challenges

I have been going through some health challenges of late.  I once again have been battling Sinusitis and Bronchitis.

Wikipedia says, in part:
Sinusitis is inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, which may be due to infection, allergy, or autoimmune issues. Most cases are due to a viral infection and resolve over the course of 10 days. It is a common condition; for example, in the United States more than 24 million cases occur annually

Bronchitis is inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchi, the airways that carry airflow from the trachea into the lungs. Bronchitis can be divided into two categories, acute and chronic, each of which has two distinct etiologies, pathologies, and therapies.

C-Health tells us:
Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses. It may be associated with both bacterial and viral infections, but it may be due to non-infectious inflammation (e.g., allergies) in the sinuses as well. Sinusitis can be acute and last less than 4 weeks, or chronic and last 8 to 12 weeks or more. Acute sinusitis is very common, affecting about 1 in 10 people each year.
People with diabetes or cystic fibrosis and people who are immunocompromised are at increased risk for sinusitis, as are those who were born with a malformed septum (the dividing wall between the nostrils).

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways between the windpipe and the lungs (bronchial tubes). The lining of these tubes produces large amounts of mucus, triggering a lingering cough. About 1 in 20 people in North America suffers from chronic bronchitis. Women are more at risk than men.

Both Sinusitis and Bronchitis have acute and chronic forms, which the web sites tell about too.

What I experience:
Sinusitis: My sinuses usually get stuffy, sometimes my nostrils start to get dried 'stuff' in them and feel irritated. When I blow my nose there is blood in the mucus (phlegm/snot).  Sometimes when I wake my nose is all stuffed up, one side or the other or even both sides, or at times it is running profusely down onto my pillow.  When my sinuses are plugged up, I have a hard time breathing and have to work at remembering to mouth breath which is very challenging for a nose breather.  I often get a mild case of sinusitis with stuffiness and blood when I blow, and it always goes away on its own. I don`t usually get a really bad case of it like I have now, though this is happening more than usual lately.

Bronchitis: I start to feel like a weight has been put on my chest, and breathing becomes difficult. With even minor exertion I go into coughing fits where I am unable to stop coughing and it becomes nearly impossible to breath at all.  I often cough up phlegm during these fits and it often, though not always, has blood spots in it. Sometimes I hear a rattle or wheeze with each breath.

Treatment: With the mild cases of sinusitis, I never do anything and it always goes away on its own.  However, with a bad case I sometimes have to resort to going to the doctor and to taking antibiotics. I greatly dislike taking meds of any kind especially antibiotics, yet at times one has to do what one has to do.  Rinsing sinuses frequently, using a Neti Pot.

I have had both of these conditions before, though few and far between and never the two together.... until this year.  In January I got bronchitis and had to take antibiotics, then in the summer, I believe it was August, I got viral laryngitis which became sinusitis and bronchitis and again I ended up on antibiotics.  Now it is November and again I have sinusitis and bronchitis and am on antibiotics.  This time it is affecting me more than ever before in that I have gotten very weak.  I have always been very strong (physically even when not emotionally) and independent, and I live alone with several animals to care for.  Suddenly I find myself so weak I can hardly walk from truck to house carrying my purse and a small bag of stuff.  I find this extremely scary!! 

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