The loss of smell is a pathology that affects the functioning of the other senses, since 80% of the taste we obtain for example from a food comes from smell and only 20% comes from taste. Therefore, as noted by the otolaryngologist José María Guilemany Toste , a loss of smell produces a serious alteration of the taste of things.
The main causes of the loss of smell , partial or total, are associated with inflammation of the sinonasal mucosa (chronic rhinosinusitis with or without polyps, or allergic rhinitis), nasosinusal infections (viral or bacterial, such as influenza), traumatism cranial (olfactory bulb or olfactory fibers), neurodegenerative diseases (such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's) or smoking .
Chronic rhinosinusitis affects more than 10% of the Spanish population and with polyps ( nasal polyposis ) to 3-5% of the general population, associated with the latter in many patients to asthma and intolerance to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. There is no curative treatment for this disease and surgery is reserved for those patients who do not respond to medical treatment.
Smell loss in patients with inflammatory polyposis is mainly because the nasal polyposis is one of the diseases most inflamed nasal mucosa and sinus, causing inflammation and subsequent alteration of the olfactory mucosa. Allergic rhinitis , especially persistent rhinitis , is one of the diseases that makes you lose your sense of smell more frequently , but usually partially.
Uncommon risk factors
Other less frequent causes are related to the intake of antidepressant or anti-inflammatory drugs , in people addicted to cocaine , exposure to domestic and industrial toxicants , nutritional factors such as a lack of vitamins (A, B6, B12), radiotherapy (when suffer from head or neck tumors) or other congenital factors (congenital anosmia or albinism).