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Decreased Sense of Smell

Decreased Sense of Smell

The reduction or decrease in the ability to perceive or detect the odor of substances is known as Hyposmia. This is slightly different from Anosmia which is the inability to perceive odor (loss of smell). There are various causes of both Hyposmia and anosmia. Some of them are allergies, nasal polyps (that is, benign growths in the nasal drainage that can cause obstruction or congestion in the nose), bacterial or viral infection and accidents. It is a common condition in the United States and men are more susceptible to this condition than women. Hyposmia may also be a symptom of diseases such as Parkinson’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s diseases, dementia, and Kallmann’s syndrome. Hyposmia, a decrease in the sense of smell, has been found to be related to a decrease in the sense of taste which is hypogeusia. It is also more common among the elderly than in the youth. It is also a symptom of chronic sinusitis(recurrent sinus infection).  If the olfactory sensory neurons (nerve endings in the nose)  are inflamed or infected it will affect the ability to taste or enjoy the food.  The sense of smell is affected by “common chemical sense”.  The sense is linked to many nerve endings on the surface of the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat.

Diagnosis

This is done by the ENT specialist or otolaryngologist. Most people complain of an inability to taste food properly without realizing they might have lost their sense of smell as well. An accurate examination of the ears, nose, and throat (ENT) will be done by the specialist

and medical and family history may also be reviewed to identify odor of substance to know if the problem is Hyposmia (reduced ability to smell), anosmia (inability to smell) or parosmia(distorted ability to smell)

Prevention

Hyposmia can be prevented by quitting smoking, avoiding allergens and chemical irritants such as insecticides and solvents, reduction in the use of some antibiotics and antihistamines as directed by a physician and avoiding injury to the head or nose. Also, always breathe in purified and humidified air or use a humidifier to moisten the air,  avoid contacting colds or flu by washing the hands often and because it is communicable,  be careful around people with colds or flu.