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The appearance of a “phantom” bad odor can be a symptom of a life-threatening emergency.


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The symptoms of a stroke vary depending on which part of the brain is deprived of its blood supply. When blood flow to the brain is suddenly interrupted or the blood vessels inside the brain burst, the cells can be severely damaged or die.

In most cases, patients experience sudden confusion or numbness that radiates down one side of the body. If the part of the brain responsible for smell is affected during a stroke, people are more likely to notice unusual smells.

A study published in the journal Laryngoscope in 2020 found that stroke is “associated with a 76% increased likelihood of imaginary smell perception.”

The results also pointed to a link between other cardiovascular problems and olfactory disorders.

Heart failure was associated with a 3-fold increase in the likelihood of phantom odor perception among adults aged 40 to 59 years, and angina was associated with a 2.8-fold increase in the likelihood of phantom odor perception among adults aged 60 years and older.

Adults with high but controlled cholesterol levels also reported more phantom odors than people without high cholesterol. Those diagnosed with high but controlled hypertension also showed similar results, reporting more phantom odors than those without hypertension.

In delusional odor perception, people perceive a smell in the absence of a stimulus.

JAMA reports that people suffering from this condition may suffer from an imbalance in nerve signals, which may allow irrational odor signals to reach the central nervous system.

In a stroke, this can happen if the part of the brain that interprets information about taste and smell is affected.

In the long term, these false signals can cause food to taste and smell different, less intense, or not like anything else, according to the Stroke Association.

And the association adds: “A stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain is cut off, resulting in the death of brain cells. If a stroke damages the parts of that brain that interpret taste and smell information from your nose and tongue, it causes changes in the sense of taste and sense of smell.”

And in 2018, a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery found that the prevalence of phantom odor perception may be higher than previously thought.

A study found that one in 15 Americans over the age of 40 often experience strange smells when they are not.

“Problems of smell, despite their importance, are often overlooked,” Judith Cooper of the National Institutes of Health said at the time. “They can have a significant impact on appetite, food preferences, and the ability to sense dangerous cues like smells.” fire, gas leak and spoiled food.”

Phantosmia (a very strange type of olfactory hallucination in which a person perceives an unreal smell that is not present in the olfactory field) should not be confused with parosmia (a type of olfactory disorder in which smells are distorted, for example, what smelled good may smell bad or go bad).

In addition, phantom odor perception is usually not a cause for concern and often disappears on its own.

Because it can also be a symptom of more serious conditions, people with phantom odors are often advised to see a doctor to check for underlying complications.

Source: Express

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