There are four sets of sinuses, one set above the eyes (frontal sinuses), one to either side of the nose in the cheekbones (maxillary sinuses), behind the bridge of the nose (sphenoid sinuses) and in the upper nose, the ethmoid sinuses.
The sinus cavities are lined with mucus membranes the same as the nasal passages. When working correctly, they provide mucus that helps keep the respiratory tract from becoming dry and irritated and mucus helps filter dust particles from the air we breathe. The sinuses are connected to areas in the nose by small openings. These openings allow excess mucus to drain. When all is working properly, mucus is free to flow in and out of the sinuses. When all isn’t working well the small openings become plugged or swollen, the voice turns to nasal tones and our head can feel like a bowling ball.
Colds and flu are often the causes of sinus problems but swimming in highly chlorinated or bacteria filled water, and problems with the teeth below the maxillary sinuses, can be a major source of sinus infection. Injury to the nasal bones, smoking, exposure to fumes, irritating smells, poor diet (especially sugars), allergies to food, hay fever and intolerance to dairy products can all cause sinus problems. I beat the genetic code where sinus problems are concerned.
Both my parents, my father more than my mother, had chronic sinus problems from childhood. Both had surgery to clean out their sinuses, my father had surgery twice. Both were raised on farms, dairy was one of the staples in their diet and both smoked heavily as adults. My grandfather was the head of a large dairy and milk, ice cream, butter and cheeses were readily available and eaten at every meal. When I was young we had cows and my entire family ate lots of dairy.
When I was participating as a professional athlete I kept track of everything I ate, charted it for performance and how it made me feel. One of my sponsors owned a Mexican restaurant and meals were free. I found that it was more advantageous for me to cook and wash my own dishes than to run out of breath in a race. I got paid to do well, not to sit on the side of the road trying to catch my breath.
The discovery and realization that dairy caused impaired breathing was a breakthrough in my performance, the amount of nose blowing I did and not having to take the advice of a couple of doctors (one was a sports medicine doctor) which was to go on steroids. If I’d taken their advice and been one of the random drug tests, the only sitting along side the road I’d have done would have been as a spectator.
I’ve found over the years, as I’ve cleaned up my diet, I can get away with a little cheese occasionally, but I don’t crave it or ice cream like I used to. Without dairy in my diet I feel much better without the mysterious aches and pains.
I’m much more sensitive to changes in my diet than I used to be. When you have a polluted river it’s difficult to tell when a little more pollution is added. When the river is clean, a little bit of pollution or junk (food) will show up almost immediately.
We hold the ultimate responsibilities for the choices in our lives and health.