Can’t you smell the lovely flowers?
It is estimated that at least one of every 100 people in the U.S. may not have an adequate “sense of smell.”
That’s right, it's more common they you think.
Maybe you don’t even realize that you can't smell those lovely flowers or cooking aromas.
Remember it is necessary to have a proper sense of smell to enjoy the nuances of fine cuisine and flavors while eating. It was once thought that women had better “smell detection,” but now it appears that is not the case.
Some of the most common causes of “smell dysfunction” that affect around 2 million individuals include, allergies (naturally), sinus problems, injuries, structural abnormalities of the nose and sinuses, infection and prolonged exposure to harsh chemicals.
There are only a few places in the U.S. where one can really get a very comprehensive evaluation of “smell and taste” problems. One can also find some practitioners that can provide a simple, quick in-office “sniff and smell” test to get you diagnosed.
Some of us can find a medication we are taking may interfere with your “sense of smell and/or taste” as well as certain chronic diseases such as diabetes and dementia. It also appears that in some cases difficulties with normal smell can improve, too.
Here are some terms you may pick up along the way:
• Anosmia: Unable to smell, at all
• Dysosmia: Incorrect sense of smell, not as it should
• Hyposmia: Less smell than normal
• Parasmia: Sensation of smell is “worse” they it is
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders may provide some additional info and tips for this condition.
Dr. Clifford Bassett is an adult and pediatric allergy specialist, and diplomat of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. He is the medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY. Bassett is a clinical assistant professor of medicine and on the teaching faculty of NYU School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center and assistant clinical professor of Medicine and Otolaryngology at SUNY LICH. Follow him on Twitter.