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Hyposmia is called a decrease in olfactory capacity, that is, a decrease in the sense of smell.

Although hyposmia is a symptom of a non-serious disease in most cases, it can, depending on its intensity and duration, significantly deteriorate the quality of life since it alters the taste and, therefore, the pleasure of eating. It endangers people’s lives if they do not detect noxious odours such as lethal gas.

Although the number of visits to doctors by people who complain of decreased smell is not very large, some studies that use specific tests to assess smell have shown a significant prevalence of this alteration, which increases with age. It has also been proven that the sense of smell in women is better than in men.

In recent times, hyposmia has been associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Various studies have shown that hyposmia can be an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

The most common cause of hyposmia is upper respiratory conditions that cause inflammation of the nasal mucosa and obstruction of the nasal and sinus passages. These common illnesses include colds, rhinitis, and sinusitis.

Hyposmia is more frequent when sinusitis becomes chronic and there are polyps, as they cause nasal obstruction and mechanically prevent the passage of air into the nasal area of the olfactory epithelium.

Other less common causes of hyposmia are smoking and certain medications such as antihypertensive, antithyroid, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotics that cause hyposmia as an unwanted side effect.

Exposure to toxic substances at levels sufficient to damage olfactory function also affects olfactory ability. These cases of hyposmia are usually associated with professional activity and the continued inhalation of the dust of heavy metals such as cadmium and chromium.

Finally, there is an endless list of diseases that have been linked to a loss of smell, from neoplasms to schizophrenia to anorexia.  

There is no single treatment for alterations in the sense of smell, and the doctor must study each case on an individual basis and apply the appropriate treatment.

Obviously, the treatment of choice must be etiological, that is, the treatment of the cause.

When, in addition to hyposmia, there is nasal congestion, runny nose, and pain or facial pressure, the diagnosis is sinusitis.

Sinusitis symptoms are due to the accumulation of mucus inside the sinuses, and consequently, relief is achieved by draining that mucus.

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