- by Bangalore Baptist Hospital
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- Jan 03 2018
ANOSMIA: THE LOSS OF SMELL- Dr. Dominic Benjamin
Anosmia refers to the partial or complete loss of smell that could be temporary or permanent.
Anosmia is often caused by a swelling or a blockage in the nose that may prevent the odours from reaching to the top of the nose. Nasal congestion can occur due to a number of factors:
- Nasal polyps: Small non-cancerous growth in the nose and sinuses can block the nasal passage.
- Injury to the nose from surgery and head trauma.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals.
- Medications including antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory medications, heart medications, etc.
- Cocaine abuse.
- Nasal polyps.
- Old age: Vision, hearing and sense of smell begins to decline after the age of 60
- Brain injury.
- Other medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Schizophrenia, Multiple sclerosis.
- Radiation treatment.
In rare cases, people are born without a sense of smell due to a genetic condition called congenital anosmia.
Loss of smell is one of the obvious symptom of anosmia. Sometimes you may notice a change in the way once familiar things smell now.
A lack of sense of smell may make people lost interest in food and eating in general. This can lead to malnutrition and weight loss.
People may have trouble smelling a gas leak and therefore need a smoke alarm active at all times or it can lead to a fire and prove hazardous.
All food products should have the expiry date written on them so that a person suffering from anosmia can detect spoiled foods.
It is not easy to measure sense of smell. Your doctor may ask you some questions regarding your current symptoms, examine your nose and perform a complete physical examination.
It is possible that you lose smell for only certain types of odours. Depending upon the condition, your doctor may carry out certain tests such as:
- CT scans
- X-ray of the skull
- Nasal endoscopy
Treatment depends upon the cause behind the disorder. If the condition is due to a cold, allergy, sinus or any infection; it will clear up on its own in a few days.
Treatments for anosmia caused by nasal irritation includes the following:
- Steroid nasal sprays
- Antibiotics, for bacterial infections
- Reducing exposure to nasal irritants and allergens
- Quit smoking
If a polyp or growth is suspected, surgery could be required to remove the obstruction. If the condition has been brought upon by the use of any medication, talk to your doctor and try switching to a different medication.
Those who have a partial loss of their sense of smell can put concentrated flavouring agents to their food to improve the taste.
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