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Smell and Taste Disorders

Beth K. Mazyck, MD and Daniel B. Kurtz, PhD, BS Reviewed 06/2019
 


BASICS

DESCRIPTION

  • The senses of smell and taste allow a full appreciation of the flavor and palatability of foods and also serve as a warning system against toxins, polluted air, smoke, and spoiled fo...

DIAGNOSIS

Smell and taste disturbances are symptoms; it is essential to look for possible underlying causes. 

HISTORY

  • Symptoms of URI, environmental allergies

  • Oral pain, other dental problems

  • Cognitive/me...

TREATMENT

GENERAL MEASURES

  • Appropriate treatment for underlying cause

  • Quit smoking (5)[B].

  • Treatment of underlying nasal congestion with nasal decongestants and/or nasal/oral steroids (6)[B]

  • Surgical corr...

ONGOING CARE

DIET

  • Weight gain/loss is possible because the patient may reject food or may switch to calorie-rich foods that are still palatable.

  • Ensure a nutritionally balanced diet with appropriate lev...

REFERENCES

1
Pinto JM, Wroblewski KE, Kern DW, et al. Olfactory dysfunction predicts 5-year mortality in older adults. PLoS One.  2014;9(10):e107541. [View Abstract on OvidMedline]
2
Malaty J, Malat...

ADDITIONAL READING

  • Cowart BJ. Taste dysfunction: a practical guide for oral medicine. Oral Dis.  2011;17(1):2–6. [View Abstract on OvidMedline]

  • Naik BS, Shetty N, Maben EV. Drug-induced taste diso...

CODES

ICD10

  • R43.9 Unspecified disturbances of smell and taste

  • R43.1 Parosmia

  • R43.2 Parageusia

  • R43.0 Anosmia

  • R43.8 Other disturbances of smell and taste

ICD9

781.1 Disturbances of sensation of smell and taste...

CLINICAL PEARLS

  • Smell disorders are often mistaken as decreased taste by patients.

  • Most temporary smell loss is due to nasal passage obstruction.

  • Actual taste disorders are often related to dental probl...

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