People underestimate their ability to smell things. They take a good sense of smell for granted. However, changes in the ability to sense smells can tell a lot about our he alth, as well as about life-threatening changes in the body.
Lack of smell can be a signal of serious he alth problems, quite different from runny nose, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis.
Here are the reasons why you should never ignore changes in your sense of smell and why you should pay more attention to them. Sometimes it can save your life.
Smelling something strange can portend a stroke
Some people initially have a stronger sense of smell than others. But if you haven't noticed before that you are gifted with superpowers, and suddenly you start to smell quite strongly that you haven't noticed before, this could be a signal of an impending faint or heart attack/stroke.
The American Academy of Neurology found that so-called "olfactory hallucinations", usually associated with unpleasant odors, can be a signal of an impending stroke, writes he alth.com. The strength and characteristics of these odors vary from person to person, according to the Mayo Clinic.
A study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery found that about 6.5% of people over the age of 40 who experience a stroke experience unpleasant odor sensations, which scientists call "phantom odors."
Imagined smells can predict an impending migraine attack
If you suffer from migraines and suddenly start to smell a strange, unpleasant or simply strong smell that others do not, this may be a sign of an impending migraine attack.During these attacks, the sufferer strongly feels odors, which the rest of the time do not impress him, and sometimes phantom odors also appear.
Suddenly impaired sense of smell
If suddenly your ability to sense smells has decreased, it could be a signal of an untimely death. A 2014 study conducted by scientists at the University of Chicago Medical Center found that the inability to register certain odors was associated with an increased risk of death in the next 5 years.
39% of the elderly patients in the study who could not identify odors or could not smell some odors at all died in the next 5 years. In comparison, in people with a normal sense of smell, death in this time range occurred only 19% of the time.
Deteriorated sense of smell may be a symptom of Alzheimer's disease
Inability to sense smells is an early symptom of Alzheimer's, according to Harvard Medical School research. Patients with elevated levels of amyloid plaques who took the test identifying certain odors also had a higher number of dead brain cells.
Why? Because the disease kills the cells of the brain, some of them responsible for the ability to register and determine odors.