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What it means to live without smell Invisible disease with devastating impact – Corriere.it



Losing a sense of smell or experiencing olfactory disorders is not uncommon. Before the advent of the new coronavirus (loss of taste and smell one of the early symptoms of infection) it was estimated that one in 20 people experienced a loss of smell at some point in life. The reasons? Chronic sinusitis, damage caused by viruses (especially colds and flu), even head trauma (which can destroy or damage the olfactory nerve fibers), polyps, tumors. Sometimes an early signal for diseases of the nervous system such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The sense of smell is one of our five senses, but it is often considered a B series. There are glasses for the treatment of visual impairments and hearing aids for the treatment of hearing, but there are no treatments to restore the sense of smell and also quite limited research. The Covid epidemic highlighted the importance of our fifth sense, often so neglected. Many have experienced, albeit mostly temporarily, the sensation of life without smell and taste. And perhaps this experience can help make everyone more empathetic to those who need to live with this deficiency forever.

The mechanism

Lanosmia на complete loss of odor. Lhyposmia partial loss of odor. Most people with anosmia can taste salty, sweet, sour and bitter, but fails to distinguish specific flavors. The ability to distinguish tastes actually depends on the smell, not the taste receptors on the tongue. Therefore, those with anosmia often complain that they have pto the sense of taste and not to enjoy the food. Loss of odor receptors due to aging causes reduced olfactory capacity in the elderly. The perception of taste begins to change around the age of 60 and at the same time the sense of smell decreases (and guilt for the reduction of odor receptors). With age, the sensitivity threshold for sweet and salty also increases. In fact, older people tend to consume more salt and more sugar.

Questionnaires

But what does it really mean to lose your sense of smell?

To understand the problems faced by people who lose the ability to smell, a group of researchers from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, analyzed the personal stories of 71 patients who experienced anosmia. Highlighted written accounts difficulties in relationships, I.only, difficulty seeking help. Many have reported thatNegative and superficial attitude of doctors to this situation, considering it difficult to get advice or treatment.

The boundaries of everyday life

The inability to smell scents sets objective boundaries in everyday life: patients I am not able to feel a possible gas leak or to understand that a spoiled food. But the sense of smell can not only save lives, but can also improve it by helping the taste of food, exploring the environment and reminding memory. The smell of perfume may bring to mind a loved one, but this experience can not be lived by someone who does not have the fifth sense. Studies in the United States and Scandinavia show that olfactory dysfunction increases the risk of death, regardless of dementia. Our research – explains in an article in “The Conversation” Carl Fipot, a professor of rhinology and olfactology at the University of East Anglia, found that anosmia caused physical problems. Due to less enjoyment of eating, some study participants explained that they have less appetite, which results in weight loss. Decreased taste perception has also led some to eat low-nutrition foods, especially those high in fat, salt and sugar.

Emotional aspects

Include negative emotional aspects experienced by anosmia sufferers shame, sadness, depression, worry. The volunteers talked about everyday worries such aspersonal hygiene (not being able to tell if they smell bad), loss of intimacy to the breakdown of relations. Some in attendance said they did not enjoy the occasions to celebrate. Not to mention the inability to associate scents with happy memories, which proved to be very frustrating. Many experiences fail to enjoy and live in a complete way, and especially asomia does not cause empathy and is not very understood by those who do not suffer from it. The coronavirus epidemic may have helped shift the focus to the fifth sense, although unfortunately, even today, there are no specific treatments to treat permanent anosmia.

December 6, 2020 (change December 6, 2020 | 12:56 pm)

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