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Loss of smell Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Loss of smell. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had the loss of the sense of smell (anosmia)?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic. Acute loss of smell would certainly suggest an acute upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). It would also suggest recent exposure to toxic fumes or recent head injury.

  2. Is the loss of smell general, partial or specific?

    Why: e.g. general anosmia is the inability to detect any smells; partial anosmia is the ability to detect some, but not all smells; specific anosmia is the loss of ability to appreciate only one or a very limited number of smells.

  3. Is the loss of smell intermittent or constant?

    Why: If intermittent, may suggest psychomotor epilepsy.

  4. Is it unilateral or bilateral?

    Why: If unilateral must consider an olfactory groove meningioma ( benign tumor of the lining of the brain in the region of the lower surface of the frontal lobe of the brain).

  5. What is the age of the person with the loss of smell?

    Why: It is normal to get a gradual reduction in the sense of smell and taste with aging.

  6. Is it possible that the loss of smell has been present since birth?

    Why: may suggest a congenital cause such as Kallmann's syndrome (hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism) or albinism.

  7. Is there a history of head injury?

    Why: A skull fracture, particularly if it involves the cribriform plate, may interrupt the olfactory nerve and cause loss of smell.

  8. Have you had a recent upper respiratory tract infection?

    Why: may suggest acute upper respiratory tract infection itself or sinusitis as the cause of loss of smell.

  9. Recent exposure to toxic fumes?

    Why: e.g. paints and sprays- may suggest cause of loss of smell.

  10. Has there been an overuse of nasal decongestant sprays?

    Why: may be the cause of the loss of smell.

  11. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. some endocrine disorders can affect smell such as Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism and diabetes mellitus; Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease may be associated with loss of smell.

  12. Past surgical history?

    Why: e.g. may have a loss of smell after pituitary surgery.

  13. Past history of radiation therapy to the head?

    Why: may cause loss of smell.

  14. Medications?

    Why: some medications are known to cause loss of smell such as captopril, penicillamine, antirheumatic medications and antiproliferative medications.

  15. Known allergies?

    Why: e.g. allergies t pollens, moulds, house dust mites, animal fur and some foods may cause allergic rhinitis.

  16. Dietary history?

    Why: may indicate possibility of Vitamin B12 deficiency which may be associated with loss of smell.

  17. Alcohol history?

    Why: overuse of alcohol may cause loss of smell.

  18. Cigarette smoking or exposure to chronic cigarette smoke?

    Why: may cause loss of smell.

  19. Use of illegal drugs?

    Why: e.g. topical cocaine and amphetamines may cause loss of smell.

  20. Loss of sense of taste?

    Why: People who have a loss of smell usually complain of a loss of sense of taste even though their taste thresholds may be within normal limits. This is because flavour appreciation depends on detecting the smell of substances in food and beverages as well as the sense of taste.

  21. Facial pain?

    Why: e.g. sphenoidal or ethmoidal sinusitis causes a constant pain behind the eye or behind the nose.

  22. Memory loss?

    Why: may suggest an olfactory groove meningioma ( benign tumor of the lining of the brain in the region of the lower surface of the frontal lobe of the brain) or a tumor of the parietal lobe of the brain. Some causes of dementia such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease may also cause loss of smell.

  23. Nasal discharge?

    Why: e.g. a pus-like nasal discharge may suggest acute or chronic sinusitis; a watery nasal discharge may suggest upper respiratory tract infection or rhinitis; a bloody nasal discharge may suggest nasopharyngeal cancer.

  24. Symptoms of the common cold?

    Why: e.g. tiredness, sore runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, slight fever; sometimes headache, hoarseness and cough. May also have loss of smell.

  25. Symptoms of influenza?

    Why: e.g. fever, chills, headache, generalized muscle aches and pains followed by sore throat, dry cough and runny nose. May also have loss of smell.

  26. Symptoms of sinusitis?

    Why: e.g. facial pain and tenderness, toothache, post-nasal drip, nasal obstruction, runny nose, cough, fever, bleeding nose. May also have loss of smell.

  27. Symptoms of rhinitis? Sneezing, nasal obstruction, nasal congestion, watery nasal discharge, postnasal drip, reduced sense of smell, dry sore throat. If rhinitis is due to allergies, also get itchy nose, throat and eyes
  28. Symptoms of nasopharyngeal tumor?

    Why: e.g. facial pain, bloody nasal discharge, cranial nerve palsies.

  29. Symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

    Why: e.g. blurry vision, double vision, dizziness, weakness, numbness or tingling in any limbs of face. May also have loss of smell.

  30. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease?

    Why: e.g. coarse hand tremor most marked at rest, rigidity of limbs, slowness in initiating and executing movements and speech, expressionless mask-like face and dementia.

  31. Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease?

    Why: e.g. impaired memory, impaired judgement and thinking, impaired verbal fluency and impaired ability to perform complex tasks. Personality may change, impulse control may be lost and personal care deteriorates.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Loss of smell:

The following list of conditions have 'Loss of smell' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Loss of smell or choose View All.

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