ANOSMIA, HYPERSOMIA, AGEUSIA, HYPOGEUSIA, DYSGEUSIA and the CORONA VIRUS?

WHAT IS “ANOSMIA”

By Darrell Pruitt DDS and David E. Marcinko MBBS, MBA

Anosmia, also known as smell blindness, is the loss of the ability to detect one or more smells. Anosmia may be temporary or permanent. It differs from Hyposmia which is a decreased sensitivity to some or all smells.

According to Wikipedia, Anosmia can be due to a number of factors, including an inflammation of the nasal mucosa, blockage of nasal passages or a destruction of one temporal lobe. Inflammation is due to chronic mucosa changes in the lining of the paranasal sinus and in the middle and superior turbinates. When anosmia is caused by inflammatory changes in the nasal passageways, it is treated simply by reducing inflammation. It can be caused by chronic meningitis and neurosyphilis that would increase intracranial pressure over a long period of time, and in some cases by ciliopathy, including ciliopathy due to primary ciliary dyskinesia. The term derives from the New Latin anosmia, based on Ancient Greek ἀν- (an-) + ὀσμή (osmḗ, “smell”; another related term, hyperosmia, refers to an increased ability to smell). Some people may be anosmic for one particular odor, a condition known as “specific anosmia”. The absence of the sense of smell from birth is known as congenital anosmia.

Ageusia is the loss of taste functions of the tongue, particularly the inability to detect sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness, and umami. It is sometimes confused with anosmia – a loss of the sense of smell. Because the tongue can only indicate texture and differentiate between sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami, most of what is perceived as the sense of taste is actually derived from smell. True Ageusia is relatively rare compared to Hypogeusia – a partial loss of taste – and Dysgeusia – a distortion or alteration of taste.

ASSESSMENT:

If you should suddenly lose your sense of smell (anosmia), you might want to get tested for COVID-19 – even without the presence of other symptoms.

“A majority of COVID-19 patients experience some level of anosmia, most often temporary. Analyses of electronic health records indicate that COVID-19 patients are 27 times more likely to have smell loss but are only around 2.2 to 2.6 times more likely to have fever, cough or respiratory difficulty, compared to patients without COVID-19.”

See: “How COVID-19 Causes Loss of Smell – Olfactory support cells, not neurons, are vulnerable to novel coronavirus infection.” By Kevin Jiang for Harvard Medical School, July 24, 2020.

https://hms.harvard.edu/news/how-covid-19-causes-loss-smell

Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

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THANK YOU

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