Problems with Smell

Frequently Asked Questions

14. Can losing your sense of smell be serious?

Losing smell can be more than a quality-of-life issue. Loss of smell deprives us of an early warning system that most of us take for granted. Smell helps us detect spoiled food and beverages. It also alerts us to the smoke of a fire, the odor of dangerous fumes, or a gas leak.

Loss of smell can also be a first sign of a more serious condition or disease. In some cases, especially in older people, loss of smell can interfere with normal eating patterns, causing us to eat too much or too little, and may even lead to depression.