The fragrance of a beautiful rose, the aroma of baked muffins or the lovely perfume gifted by your darling hubby make you feel delighted and pleasurable. At the same time, able to detect gas leaks, burning food or stale meat protects an individual against harmful health effects. Any changes in your sense of smell can impede your quality of life indicating a severe health problem residing inside your body.
As people grow older, their sense of smell diminishes, and this is predominantly present among the male population. Even one study has found that almost one-quarter of men between the ages of 60 and 69 experienced smell disorders while only about 11% of women in the same age group reported any problem.
Sensory cells called as olfactory sensory neurons that are found in a small patch of tissue inside the nose helps you smell things and are linked to the brain. Every neuron has one odor receptor and microscopic molecules released by substances around us (rose in the garden or coffee brewing) induce these receptors. As soon as the neurons detect the molecules, they send signals to the brain to identify the smell. Smells reach the neurons in two ways-either through nostrils or through a channel that connects the throat to the nose. If a person has cold, these channels are blocked, and you lose the ability to enjoy a food’s flavor. This proves that your sense of smell and taste are interconnected to each other.
If your sense of smell does not work properly, even strong flavors such as coffee or chocolate becomes difficult to distinguish. People with smell disorders either don’t get to smell things exactly the way in which they are meant to be smelt or experience a decline in the sense of smell.
Hyposmia: This indicates the decrease in ability to detect odor.
Anosmia: The complete inability to detect odor. Rarely, some people are born devoid of a sense of smell (congenital anosmia).
Parosmia: Change in odor perception, for instance something that has a pleasant smell now smells foul.
Phantosmia: The presence of an odor sensation that does not exist.
The major causes of a smell disorder include:
A smell disorder can be diagnosed in two ways. One type of test aims at diagnosing the smallest amount of odor that a person can detect while another type of test consists of a paper booklet of pages that are filled with different odors. If an individual is not able to recognize the odor, then he/she is said to have a smell disorder.
An otolaryngologist helps diagnose a smell disorder and suggests the needful action. Some people might recover their ability to smell instantly for no reason, some people might need a change of medication, some people with nasal problems might need a surgery and others might recover their sense of smell once they are cured of their illness.
A change in the sense of smell can make some people change their eating habits. This makes some individuals eat too little food and lose weight while making some other individuals eat too much food and become obese. If in case you suffer from such weight-related issues, you can get in touch with a dietitian/nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to guide you and help you stick to healthy weight goals. A smell disorder can also be a warning sign of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis. It is better to speak to your physician and get the needful done before it attacks you badly.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.