A loss of the sense of taste is called ageusia, while a loss of a sense of smell is called anosmia. There are also reduced abilities to taste and smell called hypogeusia and hyposmia, respectively. Common tastes that are impacted are sweet and sour. If you don’t lose the ability to taste, then the flavors of foods and beverages might be distorted or seem odd instead of what they are supposed to taste like. The same results can occur with the things that you smell.
There are a few health issues that you might want to investigate if you lose your ability to taste or smell. The common cold or the flu can sometimes alter the way foods and beverages taste. However, if the disorder lingers, then it could indicate diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure. Diabetes is sometimes an underlying concern if foods and beverages taste sweet.
Poor nutrition can also be a health problem related to a taste or smell disorder, especially if you don’t eat the proper foods to get the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. There are a few nervous system conditions that could be present in the body if you have a smell or taste disorder, such as Parkinson disease or Alzheimer’s.
Causes of Disorders
Although many people are born with smell and taste disorders, there are some incidents that can cause them as well. A head injury can impact the senses of the body, including your taste and smell. Some hormone changes can cause alterations in the way foods and beverages taste. If you have issues with your teeth or other areas of your mouth, then you could experience disorders with tastes and smells. Any kind of exposure to radiation or chemotherapy can change the way things taste or smell.
If you suspect that you have this kind of disorder, then you can consult with your doctor who can run tests to determine the severity of the issue. There are scratch and sniff tests that doctors can perform to detect what you can and can’t smell, as well as how much of the scent you can smell. Your doctor can also perform chemical tests to determine the level of the disorder. Another type of test performed involves sipping a chemical that is placed on certain areas of your tongue and spitting it out.
For some people, smell and taste disorders go away on their own. Your doctor will consider your age as well as your medical history before prescribing medications or other treatments for the disorder. Options include stopping or starting medications, surgery to correct the condition, or treating the underlying medical issue that is present to see if your taste and smell senses return to normal.