Anosmia is a disease that causes temporary or partial loss of smell. One common cause is common cold causing nasal congestion. Nasal fractures or polyps can cause obstruction in the nasal passage. Progressive loss of smell occurs with normal aging and further lead to complete and permanent loss of smell. Obstruction or congestion in the nose, nerve damage, inflammation of lining in the nose or altered functioning of the brain can cause problem with the olfactory system which after affect normal ability to smell. It is rare that a person may experience total loss of smell.
To enjoy food properly and get accurate taste of food properly, it is necessary to have the sense of smell, intact. If this smell is lost, it could lead to loss of interest in eating and eventually loss of weight, malnutrition and even depression.
Most common causes of loss of smell are temporary congestion or irritation of the mucous membranes that line the inside area of the nose. Non-allergic rhinitis, acute sinusitis, influenza, hay fever and common cold are some of the common causes for loss of smell. A deformity of bone inside the nose and chemical exposure to particular solvents or insecticides can also cause loss of smell.
Usually loss of smell caused by sinus infections, allergies and cold clears up after a few days, on its own. An accurate diagnosis can be best done by a qualified health care professional. Depending upon the cause, loss of smell can be treated sometimes. Bacterial infection is treated by administering antibiotics or remove, any obstructions that block the nasal passage. In some cases and especially after the age of 60, the loss of smell could be permanent but this is not commonly seen..