There are myriad health issues associated with alcoholism, including liver damage and heart disease. But there are also other lesser-known side effects that alcoholics can suffer.
Alcoholism’s Effect on Smell
Did you know that research has shown that chronic alcoholism can affect your sense of smell? Odor judgment, odor identification, odor sensitivity, and the ability to qualitatively discriminate between odors are all issues that excessive drinkers can face.
What’s the connection, though, between drinking and the sense of smell?
New findings published in the August 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research indicate that olfactory deficits among alcoholics are associated with prefrontal cognitive dysfunction, specifically, impairment in the functional integrity of the prefrontal lobe.
It may seem minor when compared to heart or liver disease, but olfactory dysfunction can seriously impair people in their day-to-day activities and occupation, increase their risk of injury or even death, and reduce their overall quality of life, study researchers said. These deficits may not only reduce patients' enjoyment of foods, but may also place them at risk for long term nutritional or health issues. Individuals may alter food choices and intake, resulting in weight loss, challenged immunity and impaired nutritional status all of which are commonly observed in patients with chronic alcoholism.
Fortunately, the information gathered during the study may play a key role in understanding the neurobiology of alcoholism.
If you or someone you love is battling alcoholism, call La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.