Loss of Smell and/or Taste
Smell and taste problems can have a big impact on our lives. Because these senses contribute substantially to our enjoyment of life, our desire to eat, and be social, smell and taste disorders can be serious. When smell and taste are impaired, life loses some zest. We eat poorly, socialize less, and as a result, feel worse. Many older people experience this problem. Smell and taste also warn us about dangers, such as fire, poisonous fumes, and spoiled food. Certain jobs require that these senses be accurate-chefs and firemen rely on taste and smell. One study estimates that more than 200,000 people visit a doctor with smell and taste disorders every year, but many more cases go unreported.
How Do Smell And Taste Work?
Smell and taste belong to our chemical sensing system (chemo sensation). The complicated processes of smelling and tasting begin when molecules released by the substances around us stimulate special nerve cells in the nose, mouth, or throat. These cells transmit messages to the brain, where specific smells or tastes are identified. Olfactory (small nerve) cells are stimulated by the odours around us-the fragrance from a rose, the smell of bread baking. These nerve cells are found in a tiny patch of tissue high up in the nose, and they connect directly to the brain. Gustatory (taste nerve) cells react to food or drink mixed with saliva and are clustered in the taste buds of the mouth and throat. Many of the small bumps that can be seen on the tongue contain taste buds. These surface cells send taste information to nearby nerve fibres, which send messages to the brain.
We can commonly identify four basic taste sensations:
Certain combinations of these tastes-along with texture, temperature, odour, and the sensations from the common chemical sense-produce a flavour. It is flavour that lets us know whether we are eating peanuts or caviar. Many flavours are recognized mainly through the sense of smell. If you hold your nose while eating chocolate, for example, you will have trouble identifying the chocolate flavour, even though you can distinguish the food's sweetness or bitterness. This is because the familiar flavour of chocolate is sensed largely by odour. So is the well-known flavour of coffee. This is why a person who wishes to fully savour a delicious flavour (e.g., an expert chef testing his own creation) will exhale through his nose after each swallow. Taste and smell cells are the only cells in the nervous system that are replaced when they become old or damaged. Scientists are examining this phenomenon while studying ways to replace other damaged nerve cells.
Facts About Loss of Smell and Taste
Years of experience of diagnosis and treatment for the loss of the senses has resulted in the following information:
Treatment programmes following a full evaluation would include a combination of homoeopathic, herbal, and nutritional supplementation at an appropriate dosage, coupled with if required, electro acupuncture, or chiropractic procedures. Allergy testing or dental material sensitivity testing may also be indicated.
WC In the Press