Blood pressure drugs can decrease taste and loss of taste can indicate hypertension.
Approximately two to five million American adults suffer from disorders of taste and smell. The nonprofit Anosmia Foundation states that “anosmia is to smell, as blindness is to sight, or deafness is to hearing.” Anosmics cannot detect scents of any kind. Moreover, over 200 medical conditions and many medications have been associated with olfactory changes and loss, including high blood pressure.
People with high blood pressure are more likely to lose their sense of taste and smell. It’s not clear whether this is related to high blood pressure itself or to the drugs used to treat it. That said, certain types of high blood pressure drugs, such as Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors, have been reported to cause loss of taste.
ACE Inhibitors are commonly prescribed for hypertension. They block the formation of a hormone that causes blood vessels to narrow, so that vessels relax. However, they also tend to cause a persistent, dry, hacking cough; skin rash; and significantly reduced taste. According to Dr. Komaroff, a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School, if one’s loss of taste is related to blood pressure tablets, it is mostly likely reversible.
Komaroff also says that most people, particularly after 60, lose some sense of smell and taste as they age. According to Lake Michigan Sinus and Sleep Apnea Center, remarkable progress has been made in establishing the nature of changes that occur in the chemical senses with age. For example, it is now known that age takes a much greater toll on smell than on taste. Scientists have also found that women at all ages are generally more accurate than men in identifying odors. Smoking can adversely affect the ability of both men and women to identify odors.
According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, problems with our chemical senses may be a sign of serious health conditions. A smell disorder, for example, can be an early sign of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or multiple sclerosis. It can also accompany or be a sign of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, malnutrition, and Korsakoff’s psychosis
When smell is impaired, some people change their eating habits. Some may eat too little and lose weight while others may eat too much and gain weight. Food becomes less enjoyable and people may use too much salt to improve the taste. This can be a problem for people with high blood pressure or kidney disease. In severe cases, loss of smell can lead to depression.
There are scientists dedicated to unraveling these problems.