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Anosmia is a condition in which an individual doesn’t have properly functioning olfactory senses – in other words, has no sense of smell.  Anosmia is a variable condition in that it can be a long-term or permanent problem, or temporarily caused by various external factors.  In some instances an individual may be incapable of perceiving just one scent, a condition known as specific anosmia. 

While anosmia has minor inconveniences such as a decreased sensitivity of palate and associated loss of pleasure from food, it can cause more serious problems such as the inability to smell gas leaks or smoke.  For this reason it is important if you may have anosmia to receive a proper medical diagnosis of the nature and extent of your condition and seek appropriate treatment.  It is important not to underestimate the potential complications of various degrees of anosmia; bear in mind the potential for feelings of isolation and depression, as well as the need to find a sympathetic medical practitioner to diagnosis the condition and take it seriously rather than dismissing it as a trivial complaint. 

Causes are many and varied, including temporary anosmia brought on by nasal congestion or infection.  More serious causes can include the deterioration of receptor neurons, brain damage and genetic predisposition.  Some degenerative neurological conditions can exhibit varying degrees of anosmia.  Treatment will vary according to the type and severity of the condition, and can include chemical preparations, changes to diet, and vitamin supplements.