Sense of Smell Impairment: It Can Be Treated

Sitting down to a meal puts our brains into overdrive. One of the first things we notice is how that meal smells. We may first see it with our eyes. And we might have heard the clatter of plates as it’s brought out to us. But it is the sense of smell that links a meal to our memory. Next, we excitedly lift our forks to our mouths and taste that first mouth-watering bite. Our sense of smell and taste may be taken for granted at times, but they add richness to our life. Unfortunately, sense of smell impairment does occur and your sense of taste can become impaired. Taste and smell are linked and, in fact, what is often thought of as taste may actually be smell. If your sense of taste and smell has degraded there is help.

There are numerous reasons for the loss or impairment of our sense of smell. The olfactory nerve, the one responsible for smell, can be damaged. It is possible for certain environmental factors to disrupt the process. For example, smoking and secondhand cigarette smoke can adversely affect this sense. Exposure to toxic materials can cause damage as well. Certain events such as head or neck trauma, cancer treatments, and other factors can also have a negative effect on smell and taste. Some causes are physiological. Degenerative nerve disease, nasal polyps, chronic infection, and conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes can all play a role in loss of smell. The list continues, but these are some of the main categories with potentially the greatest risk.

The list of what could be affecting your sense of smell may be long, but there are treatments available. The first step is to evaluate how pronounced your sense of smell impairment is and then to pinpoint what is causing it. The next step is to have the correct treatment prescribed and to preserve this important sensory faculty.