Loss of Smell Anosmia, Hyposomia, Dysosmia

General Information

The sensation of odor or sense of smell is susceptible to change with aging. Physicians call an absence of the sense of smell anosmia. This is less common as a result of aging than impairment of the sense of smell, which physicians call hyposmia. Sometimes the ability to smell becomes distorted. This physicians call dysosmia. Any of these changes affect the ability of a person to appreciate odors in the environment. When this happens, it changes the ability to appreciate food and other elements of the environment.

Loss of smell (and taste) is associated with a decrease in appetite. This in turn leads to malnutrition and progressive weight loss. Weight loss in the elderly may progress to wasting, which directly affects health and the quality of life.

Important Points in Treatment
Your doctor will review your medical history, particularly your medication history. This is an attempt to find an association with reduction in the sense of smell that can be changed or corrected to restore some of the lost sense. When the change is a result of aging rather than drugs or disease it may not be reversible.

An additional approach to treatment is to use flavor enhancers in food preparation. These are natural essences that augment natural odors in food. They are not spices, although some spices can be used to enhance the odor of prepared foods.

It helps to place a variety of foods on the plate. When only a single food is offered, it is possible for the odor of that food to tire the nose and lose much of its effect. When there is a variety of foods on the plate, one has less fatigue of the nose.

Notify Our Office If

  • You have a change in your sense of smell.
  • You develop progressive or unexplained weight loss.