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A loss in smell or taste

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Our 5 senses let us know what’s going on around us in the world. Imagine if we were to lose  two of these vital sense organs. Being unable to smell and taste will be very disruptive to your daily routine and will diminish your quality of life significantly. Without a sense of smell or taste,  one may be in danger and not realize it; whether it is inhaling toxic fumes or consuming too much salt or sugar unwittingly. Unfortunately, not many of us are aware that these symptoms can be treated with medical attention.

Loss of taste or smell is a condition which needs a medical consultation. It is important to visit a top ENT surgeon to diagnose the cause behind your symptoms. In Singapore, The ENT Clinic has state of the art facilities with well experienced and qualified ENT doctors who use modern methods for diagnosis and treatment. Once resolved you will find yourself enjoying your favorite foods again and a greater appreciation for having all your senses working in natural order..

Is taste and smell linked?

There is a close connection between your sense of taste and smell. Both taste and smell play a complementary role on how you identify and acknowledge flavour. If you have trouble distinguishing the 5 basic taste sensations of sweet and sour, bitter or saltiness and savoury, it could be that your taste buds as well as the sense of smell is affected. A good example is trying to hold your nose while tasting a lemonade. It should give you a tough time naming the flavour.

How do you identify if you have a taste and smell disorder?

Individuals who have taste disorders could have:

  • The sense of taste being distorted
  • Hypogeusia- Partial ability to taste with a reduced taste sensation
  • A phantom taste sensation of tasting something which isn’t there.
  • Agesia – a complete loss of taste could also happen rarely

Sweet, sour, bitter and salty tastes cannot be identified with precision.

Disorders in smell include:

  • Variation in the sense of smell
  • Loss in the ability to smell
  • Hyposmia – reduced ability to detect smell
  • Anosmia – complete lack of smell
  • Distortion in sense of smell – sweet scents could appear as foul smelling

What are the causes of taste and smell disorders?

In a small percentage of people, loss of taste and smell can be a congenital disorder. However, most of the other causes maybe related to:

  • Respiratory infections such as sinus infections, allergies or common cold
  • Hormonal variations
  • Injury to the head
  • Nasal polyps
  • Lack of dental hygiene and dental disorders
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Radiation therapy to the head and neck
  • Consumption of certain medicines
  • Illicit drug inhalation
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Certain surgeries to the middle ear or third molar extraction
  • Ageing which makes sense of smell and taste less accurate 

Can loss of smell and taste be a concern for health problems?

Yes, a loss of smell and taste can be a concern for bigger health problems. A number of health conditions are related to loss of taste and smell. These include:

  • Diseases of the nervous system such as Parkinson Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Brain Cancer
  • Gland disorders such as Kallmann’s syndrome
  • Korsakoff’s psychosis
  • Dental and gum problems
  • Seizure disorders
  • Vitamin deficiency and Malnutrition

How are taste and smell disorders diagnosed?

Your ENT doctor will do a complete physical assessment and inquire about your medical history.

There are a few tests done to confirm the status:

  • Scratch and Sniff test – this test will help your doctor to understand if you are able to name the common odours.
  • Measuring the lowest intensity of a compound which a person can recognise – this will give an indication of your potential to sense a chemical. Along with measuring intensity, taste comparisons may also be done
  • Sip, spit and rinse tests – your ENT doctor will place chemicals on different parts of your tongue and you will be asked to identify the tastes.
  • Examination of the nasal cavity, sinuses and oral cavity through endoscopy or a CT scan

How are taste and smell disorders treated?

The otolaryngologist will recommend treatment based on your age, overall health and physical wellness. In addition you will be checked to see how well you are able to cope with certain procedures and medicines. The doctors at the ENT Clinic Singapore will take your preferences and opinions too, to finally land on a treatment option.

If the taste and smell disorder is due to an underlying medical condition such as sinusitis or a respiratory condition, then treating this condition will help to relieve the symptoms. Adjusting the dosage of medications or changing medications could help in some instances. It may be necessary to undergo certain procedures at times, like with the  removal of nasal polyps or a surgery to help overcome any nasal blockages.

Your doctor may also counsel you to change any bad habits such as smoking or consumption of illicit drugs.

Can losing smell and taste cause complications?

Losing these two senses impacts on your quality of life. The dangers lie as you will pay less attention to possible fires, toxic fumes, a gas leak or consumption of spoiled beverages and food. Disorders to taste could affect your nutrition levels leading to malnutrition and vitamin deficiency.  This opens doors to a reduced immune system which can aggravate simple health problems. 

What if I have lost my sense of taste or smell?

Seek medical advice without delay. This condition will resolve when the underlying medical condition is treated. Quitting smoking or taking drugs can improve your senses.

If there is a permanent loss of taste, you can enjoy better meals by eating warm food and enhancing the taste of food with strong flavors by adding herbs in foods. Making food more visually appealing and mixing food textures can help. 

Some health facts to keep in mind about taste and smell disorders:

  •   Losing your ability to taste and smell is the most common taste and smell disorder
  •   A distorted sense of smell can occur where fragrant smells may appear unpleasant
  •   Treatment for above symptoms include treating underlying causes
  • Taste and smell disorders affect quality of life.
  • Taste and smell disorders can be treated.

What should I do if I have a taste and smell disorder?

If you are in Singapore, then a preferred choice by many patients is the ENT Clinic Singapore. Before you visit you can jot down the questions you have in mind and once you meet your ENT specialist you can discuss further, including new medicines and treatment options available to you and discuss at length any side effects. Conveniently located in Mt. Elizabeth Novena Hospital and Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore, the practice offers comprehensive otolaryngological care.

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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Health

AgeRejuvenation: Your Partner in the Pursuit of Ageless Living

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In the age-old quest for longevity and vitality, physicians are now beginning to attack the signs of aging from multiple fronts. “At AgeRejuvenation Functional Medical Clinic, we offer cutting-edge treatments and strategies to promote cellular repair and mitigate DNA damage,” says Brett Markowitz, the clinic’s CEO and founder. “We also offer guidance on the lifestyle changes that will enable you to maintain your health, function, and appearance.”

Understanding the two types of aging

Two classifications distinguish aging and its impact on the human body. The first, primary aging, refers to the natural and inevitable changes that occur over time, regardless of external factors or lifestyle choices. 

Secondary aging, on the other hand, refers to the aging processes that occur due to lifestyle choices and environmental factors. Unlike primary aging, secondary aging is not inevitable, can vary significantly among individuals, and is influenced by factors such as diet, exercise, exposure to toxins, stress, and the development of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis.

“Our personalized plans for each patient combat both primary and secondary aging,” notes Markowitz. “This requires an integrative and proactive approach. By combining regular physical activity, a balanced diet, good sleep hygiene, stress management, and social involvement with healthcare’s preventative measures, you can now influence the pace of your own aging process. Primary aging factors are less within our control, but the synergy of these strategies buffers their impact. And secondary aging can be significantly slowed with lifestyle and environmental changes.” 

AgeRejuvenation Functional Medical Clinic recommends certain practices to slow the effects of primary aging, such as regular exercise to maintain muscle mass, reduce the risk of age-related diseases, and improve cognitive functions.

“A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains provides essential nutrients that protect against cellular damage and combat oxidative stress,” Markowitz says. “Additionally, consistent, quality sleep supports cellular repair processes, regulates metabolism, and reduces inflammation to mitigate the effects of aging.”

As Markowitz explains, relaxation practices can help combat chronic stress, which can accelerate cellular aging by shortening the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes called telomeres. Using sunscreen and protective clothing also reduces the aging effects brought on by UV radiation.

Unlike primary aging, the rate of secondary aging is influenced significantly by lifestyle choices. For example, quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake can significantly reduce the risk of developing diseases that speed up the aging process.

“Certain nutritional supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, resveratrol, and Coenzyme Q10, have been proposed to support cellular health,” says Markowitz. “Mental exercises like reading, puzzles, and games challenge the mind, which can help preserve cognitive function and may even delay the onset of conditions like dementia.”

Markowitz goes on to explain that a robust social network with family, friends, and community reduces stress and decreases the risk of conditions that promote secondary aging. Furthermore, air purifiers, water filters, and choosing to live in less polluted areas can minimize exposure to pollution and environmental toxins that contribute to non-genetic aging.

“Advances in genetic testing can offer deeper insights into one’s susceptibility to age-related diseases,” Markowitz notes. “The results of these tests allow clinics like ours to tailor health strategies to prevent or delay their onset.”

Hormone optimization holds the key to vitality

The broad field of anti-aging treatments incorporates everything from topical skincare products to sophisticated genetic interventions. In this rapidly evolving field, hormone optimization has become a cornerstone of personalized anti-aging strategies since hormones act as the body’s chemical messengers and regulate virtually every major system, from metabolism to mood.

“As people age, these hormones can become unbalanced, leading to a myriad of health issues,” says Markowitz. “Hormone optimization seeks to restore hormonal balance, improve overall well-being, and slow the aging process.”

Unlike synthetic hormones used in traditional hormone replacement therapies, bioidentical hormones are chemically identical to those produced by the human body, offering a more natural solution to restoring hormonal balance. This can be particularly transformative for battling menopause and andropause symptoms.

“As people age, many recognize the need for thyroid function optimization,” Markowitz says. “Our thyroid gland influences metabolism, energy levels, and body weight, so it’s no wonder that we contribute to a sense of vitality and well-being when we optimize its function.”

Markowitz also finds that many people find renewed vigor through testosterone and estrogen balancing. “For men and women alike, maintaining the right balance of testosterone and estrogen is crucial for health because these hormones impact everything from bone density to libido,” he says.

The synergy between anti-aging treatments, hormone optimization, and a healthy lifestyle

The intersection of targeted anti-aging treatments, hormone optimization, and lifestyle adjustments represents a synergistic approach to aging gracefully. Hormone optimization and a healthy lifestyle enhance the effectiveness of anti-aging treatments by ensuring the body is in its best possible state for repair and regeneration. For instance, balanced hormones can improve skin elasticity, making cosmetic treatments more effective. 

Combining these strategies allows for a holistic approach to aging and an increasing degree of personalization. Clinics like AgeRejuvenation tailor treatments to each individual’s unique hormonal profile and aging concerns, resulting in targeted and effective interventions.

“The pursuit of ageless living is a multifaceted journey that intertwines cutting-edge scientific discoveries with tried-and-true lifestyle practices,” Markowitz concludes. “The path to longevity and vitality is as much about embracing a holistic lifestyle as it is embracing the newest anti-aging treatments. These advancements can add years to your life, but more importantly, they can add life to your years, enabling you to age gracefully and with dignity.”

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