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Anosmia and hyposmia

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There has been some renewed interest in recent years in disorders of olfaction. Decreased sense of smell can lead to significant impairment of quality of life, including taste disturbance and loss of pleasure from eating with resulting changes in weight and difficulty in avoiding health risks such as spoiled food or leaking natural gas. Recent epidemiological reports have shown that despite fairly low self-reported prevalence of these disorders in large population studies, when validated smell identification or threshold tests are used, they reveal quite a high prevalence of hyposmia and anosmia in certain groups, especially the elderly. Several different pathophysiologic processes, such as head trauma, aging, autoimmunity, and toxic exposures, can contribute to smell impairment, with distinct implications concerning prognosis and possible treatment. As allergists, we are most likely to see this symptom in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis, and this now appears to be due more to the mucosal inflammation than to physical airway obstruction.
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Keywords: Aging; anosmia; chronic sinusitis; epidemiology; head trauma; hyposmia; olfaction; quality of life; smell; taste; toxic

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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