Monday, November 14, 2011

How diseases, including sinusitis, affect senses of smell

How diseases, including sinusitis, affect senses of smell

The nerve tissue enabling sense of smell sits in the nasal cavity’s roof and near superior and middle turbinates. Even a small blockage in this area, therefore, affects the sense of smell. Complete loss of sense of smell is called anosmia. Partial loss of sense of smell is referred to as hyposmia.

If you loose smell sense, you may also loose sense of taste because taste and smell senses are linked. The food, thus, may taste bland. Alternatively, you may not be able to distinguish between spoiled and edible food. Complete loss of sense of taste is ageusia, whereas partial loss is known as hypogeusia.

Ability to smell and taste are essential, because these natural gifts let you enjoy pleasing aromas and yummy food. These abilities have another important role: warning against deadly substances like venomous goods, lethal gases and fires.

There are diseases and infections that may impair your sense of smell and / or sense of taste. For instance, sinusitis prevents air from entering into the nose parts where cribriform plate, featuring smell receptors, is located. Nasal tumors, nasal polyps and nasal septal deformities may block the airflow to the receptors. Thus, patients suffering from sinusitis may loose sense of smell.  When the nose is blocked, even your favorite food tastes dull and bland because you are unable to smell. This inability may affect your appetite as well and you may feel depressed. Allergic rhinitis may also lead to temporary loss of smell sense. However, temporary loss of smell due to sinus disorders can be treated with antibiotics, corticosteroids and other medicines, and surgery.

Aging also affects the smell abilities due to wear and tear of the nerves controlling smell and taste sensations. Other causes include smoking, structural deformities of the nose, infection of the upper respiratory system and deficiency of zinc and vitamin B12. Even some people are born without sense of smell; this condition is referred to as congenital anosmia.  

Structural deformities prevent the aromas from reaching the receptors where sense of smell originates. Irritation of the nasal mucosa obstructs and causes swelling of the sinuses and nasal passages, leading to complete or partial anosmia. Damaged olfactory neuroepithelium or partial damage to the olfactory nerve leads to anosmia.

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