Understanding Taste Disorder and Its Effects

Running in the track requires a considerable amount of energy. If you are weak, you may not be able to finish your race. That is why before any race, track and field athletes keep themselves at their prime health by regular practice, exercise, and most importantly, having a well-balanced diet. However, in some cases, eating the right foods may be difficult to achieve especially if your sense of taste is distorted. Any abnormalities in the sense of taste can cause a person to lack appetite and eventually lose weight. And this is what any athlete wants to avoid.

The sense of taste has a reputation of being difficult to diagnose and treat. One reason for this is that most cases of taste disorders are not the diseases in themselves but are a sign of another underlying condition. There are also patients who reported having problems with their sense of taste but in actuality, their condition is related to a problem in their sense of smell, as the two are very closely related. The prevalence of taste disorder is also unknown as many patients try to self-medicate or neglect their condition.

Different Types of Taste Disorders

  • Phantom taste perception – characterized by lingering taste in the mouth which may include metal taste in mouth or salty taste in mouth
  • Ageusia – refers to the inability of a person to detect taste
  • Hypogeusia – a condition when a person does not completely lose his ability to taste, but with reduced ability to taste sour, bitter, sweet, salty and umami

Total loss of sense of taste is rare. More often, the patient actually experiences a loss of smell, causing that person to perceive a loss of taste.

Causes of Taste Disorder

Some people are born with this condition but some can develop it through illnesses or injury. Some of the common causes of taste disorder include:

  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Infection in the middle ear
  • Infection in the upper respiratory
  • Certain medications including antihistamines and antibiotics
  • Poisoning or exposure to toxic chemicals such as lead
  • Head injury
  • Radiation therapy in the head or neck
  • Some types of surgery in the nose, ear and throat
  • Dental problems and poor oral hygiene
  • Vitamin deficiency such as zinc deficiency
  • Other health conditions such as diabetes mellitus and gastric reflux

Treatment for Taste Disorder

Treatment for any abnormalities in the sense of taste is normally directed toward identifying the underlying cause and treating it. Once the underlying cause is treated, the patient will normally slowly regain his or her normal sense of taste. If the condition is caused by a certain medication, your doctor will normally find a substitute that will not affect your taste buds. As for the case of poisoning, emergency treatment is of utmost importance as it could be a life-and-death situation.

Effects of Loss Taste Disorder

If left untreated, any disturbance in the sense of taste can have some serious effect on the person. A person may suffer from inadequate nutritional intake which may lead to weight loss. It may also result to decreased psychological wellbeing and social pleasure.

While taste disorders are generally not life-threatening, this problem should be given ample attention because it can have a significant impact on the patient physically, socially and emotionally. So much more if you are an athlete as it can affect your general performance.

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