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Loss of taste and smell: Natural with aging?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/loss-of-taste-and-smell/AN01198
- With Mayo Clinic geriatrician
Paul Y. Takahashi, M.D.read biographyclose window
Paul Y. Takahashi, M.D.Paul Y. Takahashi, M.D.
"The Internet will impact the lives of all patients young and old. Older and mature patients are no exception to this information explosion." — Dr. Takahashi
Dr. Paul Yoshio Takahashi works with elderly patients as a member of the geriatric consultative group at Mayo Clinic. He works in all medical settings, including the outpatient clinic, the nursing home and occasionally the patient's home. He is especially interested in strategies for successful aging, preventing elder abuse and mistreatment, home telemonitoring, frailty, and cognitive screening in elderly patients.
Dr. Takahashi is a consultant in the Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic. He is an associate professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. He had a fellowship in geriatric medicine at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine from 1997 to 1998.
Dr. Takahashi cares for all of a patient's acute needs and chronic problems and focuses on specialty issues such as memory problems, safety in the home, healthy aging, proper medications and end-of-life concerns.
He sees the Internet playing a growing role in the health information field.
"Patients and their families want and expect the most up-to-date information about life, health, disease and death. Healthy aging as a concept has grown quickly over the last 20 years as we have all lived longer and hopefully better," he says. "I expect that Mayo Clinic will be a significant part of this growing movement of a healthy maturity."
Dr. Takahashi, a native of Pittsfield, Ill., joined Mayo Clinic in 1998 and is board certified in internal medicine with added qualification in geriatric medicine. He is a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society.
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Loss of taste and smell: Natural with aging?
Is loss of taste and smell normal with aging — or could loss of taste and smell have other causes?
from Paul Y. Takahashi, M.D.
Some loss of taste and smell is natural with aging, especially after age 60. Various other factors also can contribute to loss of taste and smell, however, including:
- Nasal and sinus problems, such as allergies, sinusitis or nasal polyps
- Certain medications, including beta blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Tooth decay or poor dental hygiene
- Cigarette smoking
- Head or facial injury
- Alzheimer's disease
- Parkinson's disease
Loss of taste and smell can have a significant impact on quality of life, often leading to decreased appetite and poor nutrition. Sometimes loss of taste and smell contributes to depression. Loss of taste and smell also might tempt you to use excess salt or sugar on your food to enhance the taste — which could be a problem if you have high blood pressure or diabetes.
If you're experiencing loss of taste and smell, consult your doctor. Although you can't reverse age-related loss of taste and smell, some causes of impaired taste and smell are treatable. For example, your doctor might adjust your medications if they're contributing to the problem. Many nasal and sinus conditions can be treated with medication or outpatient procedures. Likewise, dental problems are often treatable as well. If you smoke, quitting can help restore your sense of taste and smell.
If necessary, your doctor might recommend consulting an allergist, otolaryngologist, neurologist or other specialist.Next question
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Mann NM, et al. Anatomy and etiology of taste and smell disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 19, 2011.
- Mann NM, et al. Evaluation and treatment of taste and smell disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 19, 2011.
- Smell & taste. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/smellTaste.cfm. Accessed Aug. 19, 2011.
- Gaines AD. Anosmia and hyposmia. Allergy and Asthma Proceedings. 2010;31:185.