Man holding flower up to son's nose

Not all people with reduced sense of smell will go on to develop Parkinson’s disease (PD), but most people with PD have some loss of their sense of smell.

In fact, reduced sense of smell, called hyposmia, is often an early sign of Parkinson’s. Looking back, you may realize you were losing your sense of smell several years, or even decades, before you received a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Hyposmia is an under-recognized symptom, as it is not a common concern for doctors to ask about or for people with PD to report. Hyposmia can impact quality of life: our sense of taste is enhanced by our ability to smell, so hyposmia can lead to a reduced enjoyment of food and reduced appetite. If you or someone you know has trouble smelling foods like bananas, dill pickles or licorice, ask your doctor about Parkinson’s.

Managing Loss of Smell

There are not any treatments for lost sense of smell. However, if reduced ability to smell is affecting your appetite and you find yourself gaining or losing weight, you may want to learn more about diet and nutrition. You can also call our Helpline for tips: 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).

Page reviewed by Dr. Addie Patterson, Movement Disorders Neurologist at the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at the University of Florida, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. 

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