Anosmia: Loss of sense of smell
Ageusia: Loss of sense of taste
Hyposmia: Reduced ability to smell
Some people are born with the inability to smell and taste. Some have lost these senses through the use of medications or from different infections and health problems. The most common cause, however, has been through the Covid19 infection. Though many have been able to regain the sense of smell and taste after a few weeks .... others still suffer months after the infection has subsided.
Researchers are still trying to determine how and why the COVID-19 virus affects smell and taste. One study suggests the virus doesn’t directly damage olfactory sensory neurons. Instead, it may affect cells that support these neurons. This means the sense of smell has not truly been lost, but the sensory signals are no longer trasmitting and being interpreted correctly. This means you can retrain the sense perception through exercises.
Why Retraining is Important
The loss of your smell and taste can really have an impact on quality of life and safety.
- Smell directly impacts the sense of taste > about 80% of the flavors we taste arrive from what we smell
- meals lose their appeal > eating too little can lead to malnutrition, dehydration and unhealthy weight loss
- adding additional flavor enhancers like sugar and salt > increases your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure
- Smell can be the first thing to alert you to danger, such as smoke, natural gas, harmful chemicals or rotten food
- The sense of smell is closely tied to the amygdala portion of the brain > plays a significant role in memory
- sense of smell can impact emotions and mental health
- Lack of appetite combined with an inability to smell pleasurable scents may contribute to depression, anxiety and isolation