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Making sense of the reasons for the loss of smell

We all rely on our senses to interact with and understand the world around us. Your sense of smell can help alert you to danger, cause you to crave certain foods, or remind you of a fond memory. According to the National Institutes of Health, older adults may start to lose their sense of smell as a natural part of the aging process.

The loss of smell can affect older adults in various ways. It can be so gradual that it goes unnoticed. It can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. It can also be an early indicator of a more serious disease such as Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis.
As you grow older be aware of the following symptoms, and talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • Reduced ability to detect the scent of poisonous gases or smoke
  • Inability to identify the smell of spoiled food, milk, and toxic substances
  • Diminished appetite

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