Decreased Ability To Taste

What Causes Reduced Sense Of Taste?

Reduced sense of taste can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose reduced sense of taste, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "reduced sense of taste" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Brain Tumor
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Zinc Need
  • Vitamin B12 Need
  • Depression
  • Lichen Planus
  • Lyme Disease

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
bulging eyes
occasional confusion/disorientation
brain cancer
continuing slight limb numbness
recurring depression
not keeping mind active
abnormal taste in mouth
recent "don't care" attitude
chronic headaches
inability to use arm(s)
Alzheimer's disease
much reduced sense of smell
... and more than 110 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of reduced sense of taste:
Cause Probability Status
Brain Tumor 95% Confirm
Vitamin B12 Need 25% Unlikely
Alzheimer's Disease 18% Unlikely
Lichen Planus 5% Ruled out
Guillain-Barre Syndrome 1% Ruled out
Zinc Need 0% Ruled out
Depression 0% Ruled out
Lyme Disease 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Mouth/Oral Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about decreased ability to taste:
Has your sense of taste declined within the past few years, for reasons other than nasal congestion?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No, my sense of taste has remained about the same
→ Yes, but it is due to ongoing nasal congestion
→ Yes, it is somewhat worse now
→ Yes, it is a lot worse now
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no change in sense of taste, loss of taste due to blocked nose, reduced sense of taste or much reduced sense of taste, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease may lead to a decreased sense of taste.

Bell's Palsy

The facial nerve also innervates some of the taste buds of the tongue, sometimes causing a reduction in the sense of taste.

Depression

Depression is associated with reduced levels of serotonin and noradrenalin.  The decrease of these levels has been linked to the loss of sense of taste.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The sense of taste may become altered or reduced.

Oral Lichen Planus

If the tongue is affected, this may result in a blunted taste sensation.

Vitamin A Requirement

Taste deficiency is reported by patients with vitamin A deficiency; vitamin A helps maintain a keen sense of taste and smell.

Zinc Requirement

Zinc deficiency can present itself as a reduced or distorted sense of taste.

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