Sunday, January 15, 2006


Although the senses of smell and taste are related chemical senses, complaints of malfunction are more frequently centered around a loss of olfaction. The sense of smell decreases with aging due to the diminution in the number of olfactory nerve endings in the nose.
A decreased sense of smell can be caused by viral infections, high doses of aspirin, hepatitis, hyperthyroidism, head trauma, nasal polyps, and smoking.
Defects in the sense of smell may be more important with respect to the eating habits of the older person than is the loss of the sense of taste. An inability to discriminate food odors can change the older person's food preferences and eating patterns.
See also ANOSMIA.
Steinberg, F. U. Care of the Geriatric Patient, 6th ed. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1983.


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