What is Anosmia?
The anosmia is the loss of sense of smell. It can be a problem in itself or a symptom of another health problem. It can last a short period, such as when your nose is blocked by a cold, or it can be permanent.
Some people have a reduced sense of smell. It is called hyposmia. These people may be able to smell some scents, but others may not. There are other conditions related to anosmia:
- Hyperosmia. It is a very sensitive sense of smell.
- Parosmia. It makes people smell bad, detecting something unpleasant when the smell is neutral or pleasant.
- Phantosmia. People to detect odors in their absence, in a kind of olfactory hallucination.
People with anosmia often experience ageusia, the inability to taste, since smell plays such an important role in the perception of taste. On the other hand, dysgeusia is a medical disorder that causes an alteration of taste in the mouth.
How anosmia can affect your life
The sense of smell is closely linked to the sense of taste. If you can not smell the scent of food, you probably have trouble savoring the food. It could lead to not eating enough and losing weight. You may also not get the nutrients you need.
Anosmia can affect your mood. It can make you feel sad or depressed, as the aromas of food, flowers, and other things add to the joy of life.
The lack of a sense of smell can also be dangerous. For example, you would not be able to smell a gas leak or smoke from a fire, among other dangers that are often easily noticeable to people with an intact sense of smell.
What causes anosmia?
Many people lose some of their sense of smell or taste as they age. But the lack of sense of smell is usually caused by an injury or a health problem.
In some cases, anosmia is temporary and disappears when the health problem is gone. But sometimes it is permanent. Many of us have suffered a temporary decrease in the sense of smell with a great cold or sinus infection, for example, and when the nose cleans again, the sense of odor statements. At other times, the condition is caused by a blockage in the nose, which requires medical attention, such as a tumor. Trauma to the head can also damage the sense of smell, as can some diseases.
Anosmia can be caused by:
- Colds or sinusitis
- Seasonal Allergies
- Smoking cigarettes
- Some medications
- Head injury
- Some brain problems, such as a stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, or a tumor.
How is anosmia diagnosed?
A physician diagnoses the lack of sense of smell taking into account the family and personal history and examining the head, neck, and nose. In some cases, to diagnose anosmia, you may also have to perform:
- Examinations to see if you can smell certain scents or odors. Physicians use familiar scents and, either float up to the nose or ask patients to use scratch-and-smell cards. The patient is considered to have anosmia if he has difficulty detecting or identifying odors.
- Blood tests to detect a vitamin deficiency or other health problem.
- MRI scan or a CT scan to look for problems in the brain.
When anosmia is congenital, which means that the person is born without the sense of smell, it can be difficult to diagnose, as it may take some time for a child to realize that he is losing a vital sense, and parents They can not know when the child still does not speak. The anosmia acquired has an onset later in life.
Sometimes anosmia takes an unusual form, called specific anosmia. With specific anosmia, someone is unable to detect certain odors but can smell everything else without difficulty. Specific anosmia appears to have a genetic component, although people also become insensitive to particular odors through prolonged exposure.
Once the disease diagnosed, reaching the cause is important, to ensure that the patient receives the appropriate treatment.
How is it treated?
Anosmia, a loss of the ability to smell, can be caused by a wide variety of factors and treatment depends on the underlying cause.
People can lose their sense of smell as a result of infections, inflammations, brain tumors, drug use, nasal polyps, neurodegenerative diseases, and a wide variety of other factors. Some people have a sense of smell as a result of occupational exposure, and others are born lacking sensitivity to particular odors.
When a patient presents anosmia, the first step in treatment is the determination of the cause. Patients will be interviewed, and medical imaging and other tests may be used to collect diagnostic clues.
Colds and sinusitis
Sometimes, the best anosmia treatment is not doing anything. Many mild inflammations and nasal infections resolve on their own. While the patient is ill, the smell may be affected, but once the condition heals, the patient should be able to smell again. Treatments like anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics and nasal irrigation can be used to treat the most difficult problems.
A patient with a chronic history of nasal obstruction may be considered for surgery to remove nasal polyps, direction abnormalities in the structure of the breasts, or to treat other nasal abnormalities.
If there is no physical blockage in the nose to explain the patient’s sensory impairment, other options may need to be pursued. Medical imaging studies of the brain can be used to check for tumors.
The anosmia caused by damage to the brain can not be cured. If a patient has a disease that affects the brain, the treatment or management of the disease can help with the sense of smell. In other cases, the loss may be permanent as a result of damage to neurons in the brain and no anosmia treatment is possible.
For patients with neurological or physiological causes of anosmia, it is advisable to consult a specialist for information about treatments.
Injuries and surgeries
If an injury, illness or surgery caused damage to the nerves that control the sense of smell, you might not be able to smell again. Or your sense of smell might come back, but it may be different than it was before. Sometimes the sense of smell will return on its own.