Many people may view the ability to smell to be trivial, and take their sense of smell for granted. However, having the ability to smell is an essential part of your life, and it can be dangerous to live without. Imagine living your life without the ability to smell, and how that would affect you physically and mentally. For many it would be devastating and would affect their quality of life. No longer could you smell your favorite flower, or smell the aroma of a home cooked meal. It can also be dangerous to lose your sense of smell because you no longer have the capacity to detect odors. You wouldn’t be able to smell smoke from a fire, a gas leak, or tell if something edible has gone south. It’s no surprise that dealing with this invisible condition can be very frustrating as well as debilitating.
Losing the ability to smell is called anosmia, and while it may be a temporary nuisance for some, it can be permanent for others. Allergies or the common cold can cause a severely stuffed up nose that can cause a partial loss of smell, and this restricted ability is known as hyposmia. In this case, once the cold has run its course the person’s ability to smell returns. Whereas, people who suffer from anosmia may never again get to wake up and smell the coffee. While not all anosmia sufferers may not know why they don’t have a sense of smell, knowing why it happened is important for treatment. Some of the causes of anosmia can include:
• Drug abuse – the use of cocaine can be very damaging to the nasal lining.
• Old age – just like vision, a person’s sense of smell can become weaker as they age.
• Medical conditions – multiple sclerosis, congenital conditions, Alzheimer’s, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal disturbances, Parkinson’s disease, and others.
• Chemical exposure – exposure to solvents, pesticides, or other toxic chemicals.
• Congenital – people who were born with no sense of smell.
• Nasal polyps – small noncancerous growths that can block the nasal passage.
• Trauma – head trauma or injury to the nose and nerves.
• Radiation – treatment of neck and head cancers.
• Certain medications – antibiotics, heart medication, antidepressants, and other prescription medicine.
Luckily the symptoms of anosmia are pretty obvious and is easy to catch. If you notice a change in your ability to smell, find that familiar items to you are lacking in odor, or you just can’t smell at all, it is imperative that you see your doctor in order to determine what’s causing the anosmia.