What is causing your loss of smell and taste?

We take our sense of smell for granted. But have you ever imagined losing your sense of smell? Food tastes different without your sense of smell, you cannot smell a flower, and you could be in a dangerous situation without realising it! Find out the following causes of smell loss:
The smell-taste connection: Taste usually follows the smell. Because your nose’s olfactory area controls both. Your nose determines whether that sweet taste is from a grape or an apple. Food does not taste the same when you cannot smell it.
Age: As you age, you lose some of the olfactory nerve fibres in your nose. This often affects your ability to notice salty or sweet tastes first.
Illness or infection: Anything that irritates and inflames the inner lining of your nose, such as cold, allergies, COVID-19, and makes it feel stuffy, runny, itchy, or drippy can affect your senses of smell and taste.
Obstructions: If you cannot get enough air through your nose, your sense of smell suffers, and smell affects taste.
Head injury: Your olfactory nerve carries scent information from your nose to your brain. Trauma to the head, neck, or brain can damage that nerve, as well as the lining of your nose, nasal passages, or the parts of your brain that process smell.
Certain medical conditions: Doctors do not understand why, but the loss of smell can be an early warning sign of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
Cancer and treatment: Certain kinds of cancer and treatment can change the messages between your nose, mouth, and brain, such as tumours in head or neck and radiation to those areas.
Medication: Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can shift your senses, especially antibiotics and blood pressure medications. Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any medication.
Vitamin deficiencies: Loss of taste and smell could be your body’s way of telling you of having low vitamins. Certain conditions and medications can cause you to be low in vitamins associated with smell and taste, like A, B6, B12, and zinc.
Smoking, drugs, and chemicals: Besides its ability to cause cancer, tobacco smoke can injure or kill the cells that help your brain classify smells and taste.
Diagnosis: Following a physical, your doctor will assess your ability to taste and smell. You will name scents in small capsules or scratch-and-sniff labels for the smell test. Your doctor may use an endoscope (a camera on a flexible tube) or a CT scan to examine your sinuses, nose nerves, and brain.
Complications: When you lose your senses of smell and taste, it affects your life in many ways. This condition is a safety risk since you can’t smell smoke, poison, gas, or taste spoiled food.
So, be aware of your conditions when you cannot smell or taste anything and treat them accordingly.

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