Are you finding that food does not taste or smell quite as robust as in the past? Are you adding more salt, pepper or other condiments to adjust for your lack of taste in the foods you have always enjoyed?
If so, you may be suffering from something as minor as a chronic nasal blockage or congestion to something more profound known as Anosmia—the complete loss of smell. For most people, the loss of taste or smell is more temporary which can be linked to colds, allergies, sinus infections, certain medications including antidepressants, antibiotics or heart medications, nutritional deficiencies such as zinc or vitamin B12, hormonal imbalances, dental problems or even nasal polyps. Anosmia is found in 75% of people who are over 80 years old with the process beginning around age of 60—if this condition is due to age, treatment is not always viable.
There are, however, certain conditions that are more serious when loss of taste or smell are present—Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis which will require a much more in-depth study of the problem.
Whether temporary or permanent, since Anosmia affects our sense of smell and taste, it can ultimately impact one’s quality of life; food, for instance, is not just for sustainability, but directly correlates to our social interaction with other people. What would life be like without the ability to smell and enjoy the aromatic food cooking on the stove or the ability to enjoy the smell of the perfume you love or even the budding flowers in springtime?
There are steps you can take to either avoid Anosmia or perhaps reduce its affects:
· Visit your doctor to be sure there are no nasal polyps—they can also check to see if you have a smell disorder as that directly affects one’s ability to taste.
· Consider taking an over-the-counter decongestant to open up the nasal passages—antibiotics may also be necessary.
· Quit smoking! Smoking can dull your senses.
· Install a smoke alarm—if the sense of smell is that damaged, you or your aging loved one may not smell if there is smoke or fire in the house.
· Be sure to engage in proper dental hygiene. Gum disease, such as Gingivitis, can cause a decrease in your ability to taste. Proper flossing, removing plaque and regular visits to your dentist is a good deterrent for Anosmia.
Tip: Avoid adding additional salt or sugar to your diet to overcompensate for lack of taste—this can contribute to high blood pressure or the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.
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