Contributed by – Healthians team
When you eat, your two sensory organs work together. They are – the sense of taste and smell. Your taste buds pick up the flavors like sweet and spicy, while your sense of smell allows you to enjoy the aroma of the food. Neither of these senses gets any attention when they are working, however, it is only when they do not work and it impacts your eating experience that you realize their importance. Like when you have a cold for example.
Recently the loss of the sense of smell and taste has been linked to coronavirus and is also included as its early symptoms. According to a study, if you have smell and taste loss, you are more than 10 times more likely to have coronavirus infection. Hence, you need to pay attention to it now more than ever before.
Here, we will look at some other possible causes of loss of the sense of smell and taste.
Causes of loss of taste and smell
Loss of sense of the taste or taste disorder is also called ageusia. And a partial loss of taste is called dysgeusia. It is caused when the sensation of taste is not transferred to the brain due to some kind of interruption or when the brain is not able to interpret these sensations correctly. Although the loss of taste and smell is common, a complete loss of it is rarely seen.
The loss of smell is called anosmia. A person can have total or partial anosmia. People with anosmia often think that they have lost their sense of taste, although both of them may go hand in hand.
It is the complete loss of the sense of taste. It can make you unable to detect any kind of taste. However, ageusia is rare. In a study, it was estimated that only 3% of the people who experience loss of the sense of taste have ageusia.
Dysgeusia is a partial loss of the sense of taste or is the presence of one type of taste in the mouth which can mask other tastes and make all other foods taste the same. If you have dysgeusia, you will experience foul, rancid, sour, salty or metallic kind of taste is your month.
Hypogeusia is another type of partial loss of the sense of taste. In it, you may not be able to detect one type of taste. It can be any of the key tastes: bitter, sour, salty or sweet.
Age is a common factor when it comes to the loss of the sense of taste and smell. Some women can start losing their taste buds in their 40s and in men it can happen in their 50s. Your taste buds will become less sensitive. At first, salty and sweet flavor will get weak which will be followed by bitter and sour. Similarly, loss of sense of smell can also weaken with age. It is the strongest in the 30s to 60s and starts to decline after that. Some people may eventually lose it completely. Age-related decline cannot be reversed but you can get it checked to confirm there’s no other cause of it.
Some medications and drugs can affect your sense of taste and smell. Or they can put different flavors in your mouth making you unable to sense flavors. Medicines of blood pressure, antidepressants, antihistamines and beta-blockers are some such drugs.
Nose infection, throat infection, sinuses can change your sense of taste and smell. Head injury, some kind of growth in the nasal passage and dental problems can also become the cause. In some cases, it can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
If you are getting treated for cancer, chemotherapy, antibiotics, opioids and radiation can throw off your sense of taste.
Tobacco can keep you from identifying odors and change your sense of taste. But once you quit, both the sense will gradually get back to normal.
Not much is known about the novel coronavirus and extensive research is still going on to find the cure. New symptoms of it are emerging every other day. Lately, the loss of sense of taste and smell has also been reported by those suffering from the disease. In the current situation, if you experience a sense of taste and smell it is advisable that you seek an opinion from the doctor to limit exposure in the case of Covid-19 infection.
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