Ever wondered what if you can’t smell anything? For me, it’s horrible, even the slightest thought of it makes me horrified. Yet there are those living a life without a sense to smell. Yes, we call it Anosmia. About an estimate of 3–20% of the population is afflicted, according to a Clinical Review. The loss of sense of smell can be temporary or can be permanent either acquired or congenital.
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To be exact the inability or decreased ability to smell is what we call smell blindness or Anosmia (loss of smell or odor blindness).
Know the Causes of Anosmia
The causes are numerous, any mechanical blockage can restrict odors from reaching the olfactory nerves leading to loss of smell. Other than this- can be neurological causes such as disturbances to the sensory nerves or anywhere along the path. Path as in which the signal of smell is transferred to the brain.
1. Inflammatory and obstructive disorders
An estimate of 50% to 70% of cases of anosmia are associated with inflammatory and obstructive Disorders. The most common cause of the condition which also includes nasal and paranasal sinus disease (rhino-sinusitis, rhinitis and nasal polyps). These disorders lead to inflammation of the mucosa and direct obstruction.
2. Head trauma
This is another cause of the loss of smell any head trauma can lead to damage of nose or sinuses leading to a mechanical blockage and obstruction. Trauma to the central nervous system (CNS) leading to smell blindness can be temporary or permanent. Which depends upon the area and severity of the injury.
3. Congenital conditions
Congenital conditions refer to an inherited medical condition that occurs before or at the time of birth. The Congenital conditions associated with the loss of sense of smell are Kallmann syndrome and Turner syndrome.
4. Aging and neurodegenerative processes
Normal aging can result in decreased sensitivity to smell. Where neurodegenerative processes can lead to loss of smell that can eventually result in anosmia. In general, aging causes loss of the number of cells in the olfactory bulb and in the olfactory epithelium surface area. Where these cells in the area are very important in sensing smell.
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5. Other conditions
Besides, other traumatic or obstructive conditions leading to loss of smell include:
- Toxic agents such as tobacco, drugs, and vapors
- Post-viral olfactory dysfunction which happens due to viral infection of the olfactory neural system in the nose
- Facial traumas
- Neoplasms in the nasal cavity
- Subarachnoid hemorrhages
- Certain medications as a side effect can lead to olfactory defects
Here in the above, we have discussed the Etiology of the Anosmia. Understanding of etiology is regarded as a base for the treatment and management of the condition. As the condition is not a diagnosis but a symptom.
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