7 Symptoms of Anosmia

While not life-threatening, anosmia or loss of smell can impact your quality of life and overall safety in harmful ways. Conditions involving anosmia entail the complete loss of smell, leaving a person unable to taste food or smell everyday scents, such as perfume and smoke.

Affecting as much as 20 percent of the population, loss of smell may come and go or be permanent depending on the underlying cause. In cases where loss of smell is permanent, treating the underlying cause can go a long way towards reducing symptoms.

In a nutshell, the body’s sense of smell relies on certain physical and chemical processes to function normally. Smell develops when a substance stimulates nerve cells, also known as olfactory cells, in the nose. From there, information travels from the olfactory cells to the brain for identification.

1. Acute Sinitis

As the most common cause for loss of smell, rates of acute sinitis range anywhere from 15 to 40 per 1,000 people per year. Sinitis typically develops in cases where the nasal cavities become infected. Generally speaking, a sinus infection must last last longer than seven days, but less than four months in order for acute sinitis to be present.

In most cases, acute sinitis only dulls your sense of smell, but anosmia can develop in a small amount of cases. In cases where total loss of smell does develop, permanent damage may result.

People who smoke face an ongoing risk of developing sinus infection-related anosmia. Viral infections and head trauma injuries also come with a risk. These situations increase the likelihood of sinus inflammation and/or sinus blockages.

Considering how common acute sinitis is, it can be easy to dismiss a sinus infection as harmless and let it run its course. If you’re still experiencing symptoms after four weeks, it may be time to consider getting medical treatment.