Harvard Health Letter

Are you losing your sense of smell?

An evaluation can indicate whether it's due to aging, blockage, or a neurological condition.



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The sense of smell is crucial to enjoy food or detect danger. But after age 65, our sense of smell diminishes. Part of that is natural. But sometimes, a loss of smell is a symptom of another condition. "It may indicate nasal blockage or polyps, sinus problems, tumors at the base of the skull, nerve damage of sensory fibers at the roof of the nose, or even neurological conditions such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease," says Dr. Nicolas Busaba, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

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