Smell and Taste are senses contribute substantially to our enjoyment of life. They also warn us about dangers, such as fire, poisonous fumes, and spoiled food. There are four basic taste (sweet, sour, bitter and salty) sensations and, many flavors are recognized mainly through the sense of smell.
Causes for Smell and Taste Disorder:
- Aging: Smelling ability begins to decline after age 60.
- Sensation: People may born with a poor sense of smell or taste; Upper Respiratory Infections (Common Cold) and head injury are blamed for some losses; some diseases of the nervous system.
- Structural: Polyps in the nasal or sinus cavities (Nasal Polyp), dental problems, sometimes brain tumours.
- Smoking: It impairs the ability to identify odours and diminishes the sense of taste.
- Radiotherapy (RT): Patients with cancers of the head and neck complain lost smell and taste after RT.
- Laryngectomy (removal of larynx): Commonly complain of poor ability to smell and taste; can use a special "bypass" tube to enhance air flow through the nose for smell and taste sensation to be re-established.
- Stopping or Changing medications, which can cause chemosensory problems.
- Regain the sensation simply by waiting for their illness to run its course. Remove any nasal obstructions, such as polyps, to restore airflow to the receptor area.
- Occasionally, the senses may return to normal just as spontaneously as they disappeared.
Forty-five percent of normal adults snore at least occasionally, and 25 percent are habitual snorers. Problem snoring is more frequent in males and overweight people and it usually grows worse with age. Snoring occurs when floppy tissue in the airway relaxes during sleep and vibrates. Most snoring is caused by an enlarged soft palate and uvula at the back of the mouth, although other factors like the tongue, tonsils and adenoids and blocked nose due to deviated nasal septum or polyps can also contribute to snoring.
The eustachian tube is a connection between the middle ear and the back of the nose and upper throat, which regulates the ear pressure around the ear drum. If the tube is blocked, the pressure difference on both sides of the eardrum may cause barotrauma. This situation commonly occurs when flying or diving, with a congested nose.
Four common reasons for Nasal congestion/obstruction
- Infection (Common Cold): caused by different viruses; most are transmitted from hand-to-nose contact.
- Structural Causes: usually caused by Deviated Nasal Septum (Nasal Septum is the thin, flat cartilage and bone in between nostrils) or deformities of the nose; creates obstruction to breathing, can be corrected with surgery.
- Allergy (Allergic Rhinitis): overreact to certain foreign substances (called allergens), results in nasal congestion and excess production of watery mucus.
- Vasomotor Rhinitis: expansion of nasal blood vessels causing the membranes become congested, and the nose becomes blocked; nasal congestion often interferes with sleep, when the patients lie down/on one side.