Everyone’s aware of the deadly virus currently mutating viciously and posing a threat to people globally. Recent reports of patients have turned out to be even more unsettling.
People who were enjoying the scents of beautiful flowers on a lawn and having a mug of pungent coffee have now seemingly flipped a switch, with all fragrances having disappeared altogether.
Why is This Happening?
For most people in the world, it takes only a few months to recover after succumbing to the deadly virus. However, research has found that for 16% of the people, it can take up to 6 months or even longer to recover. New estimates claim that the virus has caused 1.6 million people to develop chronic smell issues.
What’s more, is that scientists believe that older people are more vulnerable to losing their sense of smell. They say that the sense of smell of older adults is compromised in the first place and the involvement of the virus just makes it worse.
Researchers in Italy studied 101 virus-infected patients who exhibited moderate symptoms. Fast-forward 6 months, 50 of those patients showed results of impairment of smell.
Most adults over the age of 65 are sure to have some level of smell loss, which is better known as “olfactory dysfunction” in the literature of scientists. And most adults are not even aware of the fact that they are affected, because as they get old, their ability to identify, detect, and discriminate between scents diminishes.
What Causes This Loss of Smell?
There is a list of factors that play a part in the smell loss of adults.
Those factors include:
- the olfactory sensory neurons depleting in the nose – they are essential for us to be able to detect the different kinds of scents,
- the stem cell lacking the ability to refill and replace the neurons every few months, and
- the olfactory bulb in the brain decaying.
People who suffer from loss of smell have to deal with consequences that include finding difficulty in keeping up with personal hygiene, losing their appetite, and depression. In older adults, this can result in frailty, malnutrition, weight loss, and inadequate personal care.
Wrapping It Up
According to a decent number of studies, there is a much higher death risk for older adults who suffer from the loss of smell. A study conducted by Pinto and colleges revealed that adults suffering from olfactory dysfunction are about 3 times more likely to die within the time period of 5 years as compared to adults who do not suffer from such a dysfunction.