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Chronic Sinusitis Linked to Smell Impairment

Other conditions as well as certain medicines also associated with olfactory dysfunction

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Several illnesses, including chronic sinusitis, are significantly associated with smell disturbance in managed care patients, researchers report in the August issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

Judith Jones, M.D., Ph.D., of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and colleagues investigated medical insurance claims for risk factors associated with smell disturbance in patients within U.S. managed care organizations, including IMS Health's LifeLink (IMS) and i3 Magnifi Private Managed Care Organizations (MCO).

The researchers found that 26.2 per 100,000 patients per year in IMS experienced smell disturbance, for a 26.3 per 100,000 mean annual incidence. According to MCO, 17.2 per 100,000 patients experienced smell disturbance, corresponding to a 15.9 per 100,000 mean annual incidence.

Chronic sinusitis, oropharyngeal inflammatory conditions and other upper respiratory tract illnesses, systemic viral illness and cerebrovascular disease were most strongly associated with smell disturbance, as were nasal and sinus drugs, corticosteroids and calcium channel blockers.

"The annual prevalence and incidence rates of smell disturbance are lower than prior estimates partly owing to reliance on specific medical claims," the authors write. "A number of conditions preceding the diagnosis of smell disturbance were significantly associated with the condition. Uses of certain medications were also risk factors for smell disturbance."

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