Read about anosmia medical facts: what is the definition of anosmia, information about the causes, effects, and related anosmia diseases.

Definition: What is "Anosmia"?


Anosmia is a condition wherein patients experience the loss of temporary or permanent ability to smell. Hyposmia is a related condition wherein patients experience a decrease in their ability to smell, while "hyperosmia" is a condition that causes an increase in the patient's ability to smell. However, when a person loses his sense of smell for a particular odor, he is suffering from a genetically based disorder called "specific anosmia". "Congenital Anosmia" refers to the condition wherein a person is born without the sense of smell. Anosmia can be associated with other conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, zinc deficiency, cadmium poisoning, allergies, Refsum disease, holoprosencephaly, Alzheimer's disease, Kallman syndrome & Parkinson's disease.


Infection or a stuffy nose usually causes temporary Anosmia. However, permanent Anosmia is caused by brain injury that affected the olfactory nerve, which is responsible for processing smell. Permanent Anosmia can also be caused by excessive use of nasal spray & nasal polyps, which are found in people with histories of sinusitis & allergies. Other causes of Anosmia include smoking, head trauma, toxins, dementia with Lewy bodies, old age, laryngectomy, old age, esthesioneuroblastoma & upper respiratory tract infection, such as common cold & sinusitis.


Anosmia can affect patients significantly. For patients who develop anosmia suddenly, they may find food less appetizing. Loss of smell could also become a hindrance to the detection of fire, spoiled food, gas leaks & body odor. Since losing established & sentimental smell memory, such as smell of a loved one, could be a huge change in a person's life, most patients with Anosmia develop feelings of depression. Some Anosmia patients also experience loss of libido, which may even lead to impotency in younger men.

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