They are often blamed for continuing human misery, but scientists have revealed the sinuses are responsible for the shape of your nose.
But first, more about that sinus misery. While a vast sea of sinus “cure” potions, pills, drops, elixirs, tonics and assorted concoctions are offered in drug stores everywhere, the real bugbear is often not the sinuses at all.
Other nasal conditions often masquerade as sinus misery. Those conditions result in blocked breathing in the nasal channels preventing healthy draining. Not to put too fine a point on it, but when that drainage backs up, germs multiply creating stuffiness, headaches and the infamous “sinus pressure.”
Only an experienced nasal surgeon can tell for sure after a thorough nasal exam.
But what about the sinuses being responsible for the shape of your nose and the possible need for rhinoplasty, often including ethnic nasal surgery?
A just-released study from the University of Iowa and printed in the professional journal, The Anatomical Record reveals that nose shapes are determinded by the type of climate where your ancestors lived.
The woman below and left from the Middle East requested the bump to be taken off her nose and for more nasal narrowing from the top to the tip. The healed changes, right, shows her more balanced face. (Photo, Robert Kotler, MD.)
The purpose of the much-maligned sinuses and the nose is to pass air to the lungs as rapidly as possible. The sinuses’ job is to warm the air you breathe and moisten it before delivery to the lungs.
In warmer places – like Africa – noses tend to be broad and short because the air is naturally warm and moist. But in a colder place – like Norway – the sinuses “ask” the nose to become longer and more narrow to trap your breaths of air for better moistening and warming.
Researchers discovered that by studying two groups of 20 people each; one group was of African origin while the second group came from Northern European. Results? The sinuses of the European group were an average 36 percent larger in faces about the same size.
(Read the University of Iowa nose shape article.)
Said the lead researcher: “..These sinuses allow the nose to change its shape..in terms of width and independently from other parts of the face.
Previously, scientists thought that sinuses were just evolutionary leftovers, serving no useful purpose in modern people.