Does Dementia Affect Taste?

does dementia affect taste
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What is Dementia?

Dementia is a term used to describe a wide range of symptoms associated with decline in cognitive abilities. It’s a progressive disease that usually affects older adults, and is characterized by impaired memory, reasoning, language, judgment, and other mental functions. Dementia can be caused by a variety of factors, including stroke, brain tumors, head trauma, alcohol abuse, and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that nearly 5.5 million Americans are living with dementia.

How Does Dementia Affect Taste?

Dementia can affect taste in a variety of ways. For some people, the loss of taste can be so severe that they don’t even recognize flavors anymore. For others, the problem is more subtle, with a decrease in the ability to detect subtle flavors and a decrease in the intensity of the taste experience. In addition, some people with dementia may experience a decrease in their appetite, which can lead to weight loss.

What Causes Dementia-Related Taste Loss?

The exact cause of taste loss associated with dementia is not known, but it is thought to be related to changes in the brain. Dementia can cause damage to the parts of the brain responsible for taste and smell, which can lead to changes in flavor perception. In some cases, taste loss can be a side effect of dementia medications.

What Are the Symptoms of Dementia-Related Taste Loss?

The most common symptom of dementia-related taste loss is a decrease in the ability to detect subtle flavors. People with dementia may also experience an increased sensitivity to certain tastes, such as bitterness or sourness. They may also have difficulty recognizing familiar flavors or have a decreased appetite.

How Is Dementia-Related Taste Loss Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of dementia-related taste loss can be difficult because the symptoms can be subtle and hard to detect. Your doctor may ask about your medical history and conduct a physical and neurological examination to rule out other causes of taste loss. They may also refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Can Dementia-Related Taste Loss Be Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia-related taste loss. However, there are some strategies that can help manage the symptoms. It may be helpful to use strong flavors or seasonings to make food more palatable, or to provide a variety of foods with different textures and flavors. Eating meals with friends and family can also be beneficial, as it can provide an opportunity for social interaction while still enjoying food.


Dementia-related taste loss can have a significant impact on the quality of life of those affected. While there is no cure, there are strategies that can help manage the symptoms and make mealtime more enjoyable. If you or someone you know is showing signs of taste loss, talk to your doctor to determine the underlying cause and explore treatment options.

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