Problems with Taste

Frequently Asked Questions

4. What impact can loss of taste have on an older person's life?

Problems with taste can have a big impact on an older person's life. Taste contributes greatly to our ability to enjoy food and beverages. When taste is impaired we tend to eat poorly and socialize less, and our general feeling of well-being can be affected. Many social functions involve coming together to enjoy a meal, and people who have lost their sense of taste tend to avoid such situations.

Because taste affects the amount and type of food we eat, when there are problems with taste, a person may change his or her eating habits. Some people may eat too much and gain weight, while others may eat too little and lose weight. A loss of appetite, especially in older adults, can lead to loss of weight, poor nutrition, weakened immunity, and even death.

Taste helps us detect spoiled food or liquids and it also helps some people detect ingredients they are allergic to. A problem with taste can weaken or remove an early warning system that most of us take for granted.

A distorted sense of taste can be a serious risk factor for illnesses that require sticking to a specific diet. Loss of taste can cause us to eat too much sugar or salt to make our food taste better. This can be a problem for people with such illnesses as diabetes or high blood pressure. In severe cases, loss of taste can lead to depression.

If you are experiencing a taste disorder, talk with your doctor.