Smell and Taste Change as You Age

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Did you know that your sense of smell and taste are connected? As you get older, these senses can change. Changes in smell or taste can also be a sign of a larger problem.
Many problems cause a loss of smell that lasts for a short time. This temporary loss of smell may be due to:
• A cold or flu that causes a stuffy nose. The ability to smell will come back when you’re better.
• Allergies. Try to stay away from things you’re allergic to, like pollen and pets. Talk to your doctor about how to
manage your allergies.
• A harmless growth (called a polyp) in the nose or sinuses that gives you a runny nose. Having the growth removed
may help.
• Some medications like antibiotics or blood pressure medicine. Ask your doctor if there is another medicine you can
Sometimes, losing your sense of smell may be a sign of a more serious disorder, such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Be sure to tell your doctor about any change in your sense of smell.
When food tastes bland, many people try to improve the flavor by adding more salt or sugar. This may not be healthy for older people, especially if you have medical problems like high blood pressure or diabetes (high blood sugar).
Eating food that is good for you is important to your health. If you have a problem with how food tastes, be sure to talk with your doctor.
Many things can cause you to lose your sense of taste. Most of the time there are ways to help with the problem.
Medications, like antibiotics and pills to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, can sometimes change how food tastes. Some medicines can make your mouth dry. Having a dry mouth can cause food to taste funny and also make it hard to swallow. Talk to your doctor if you think a medicine is affecting your sense of taste. There may be different medicines that you can try. Do not stop taking your medicine.
Gum disease, an infection in your mouth, or issues with your dentures can leave a bad taste in your mouth that changes the way food tastes. Brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash can help prevent these problems. Talk to your dentist if you have a bad taste in your mouth that won’t go away.