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You May Be Surprised By What Your Nose Can Reveal About Your Health

Did you know that everything about your nose, ranging from its appearance to the smelling ability as well as the colour of your snot reveals your health condition? Well, if you did not, it is about time you learn about it.

If you thought your nose existed purely for smelling, you're wrong. Apart from sensing the cake being baked at your neighbour's to that bad breath of your co-worker, your nose can tell you a lot about your overall health [1].

Read ahead to know the ways your nose can act as the indicator for your overall health.


1. Nose Bleeding

  • Dry sinuses: In most cases, nose bleeding is caused by dry air which makes your nasal membranes moisture-deprived, chapped and prone to bacterial infections [2]. The air causes your sinuses to become dry and crack, causing bleeding.
  • Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT): This is a rare genetic disorder which can lead to nose bleeding as it weakens your blood vessels [3]. If you see tiny red spots on your face, hands and legs or wake up to a bloodied pillow or have a family history of HHT, consult your doctor. This disease can lead to heart stroke or cause a blood clot in your lungs [4].

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  • Other causes: You can suffer from nose bleeding due to various causes such as picking your nose, haemophilia - inherited nose bleeding disorder, blood thinners, nasal sprays, allergies aspirin, etc. [5][6]. In case you suffer from difficulty in breathing due to nose bleeding or you bleed for a long duration (30 minutes or more) do consult a doctor [7].

2. Loss Of Sense Of Smell

Studies point out that if you are experiencing a loss of sense of smell it could be a sign of health conditions ranging from diabetes to nasal polyps [8].

  • Diabetes: Though the connection between diabetes and sense of smell is not entirely clear, the high blood sugar levels can result in damaging your organs, blood vessels and nerves which play a crucial role in letting your sensory organs smell complex odours [9]. There are chances that diabetes can affect your endocrine system - which includes all the hormone-producing glands in our body - and end up interfering with your nose and affecting your smelling ability [10][11].

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  • Neurodegenerative disease: If you feel your ability to smell have depleted you should consult a doctor immediately as it could be a symptom of the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease [12]. Though these ailments are incurable there are medicines that can help ease the symptoms [13].
  • Nasal polyps: These are harmless non-cancerous, painless, soft growths in the nasal passages, which can lead to the loss of sense of smell by preventing the smell to reach the right cells [14]. Nasal polyps can be surgically removed or treated with medication [15].

3. Phantom Smell

As the literal meaning suggests, this condition refers to smelling something good or bad which doesn't really exist. It can be a symptom of serious health conditions. One or both your nostrils get affected in this condition [16].

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  • Sinus infection: Phantom smell can be caused due to an infected sinus, and usually gets cured by itself within a span of a few months [17]. Your doctor might ask you to use saline water solution to rinse your sinuses to get rid of the infection [18].
  • Brain disorders: You may experience smelling something that is not there. once or multiple times [19]. It can be because of head injuries, brain tumour, neurogenerative diseases, etc. You should get checked by a doctor to figure out the exact cause behind it and get treated.

3. Red Nose

  • Rosacea: This condition is marked by reddening or thickening of the skin of your nose. A subtype of severe rosacea which is called rhinophyma results in the change in the shape of the nose and triggers breathing difficulty [20].

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  • Rosacea is commonly reported in people who are alcoholics [21]. In addition to these, it could be an indicator of stress or anxiety, as well as a sign of allergies, Hay fever, or thyroid disorder.

4. Colour Of Your Mucous

The colour of your nasal mucus can help you detect infections.

  • Yellow/green mucous: If your snot is yellow or green-coloured, it can be a sign of viral or bacterial infection. Antibiotics can help treat the infection [21]. Coloured mucous can also be a sign of allergies, as your immune system uses white blood cells to get rid of bacteria, which causes your mucous to turn yellow. The colour can change to green after 10 days [22].
  • Brown mucous: Various causes can turn your mucous brown-coloured and they are severe air pollution, excess consumption of tobacco, dried blood, etc. If your surrounding environment is too polluted, then avoid outdoor exercises and switch to an indoor workout [23]. Also, wear a mask when you step out to prevent inhaling dust and debris and check the air quality from the weather report before getting out.
  • Black mucous: If you notice that the colour of your nasal mucus is black, it can be the symptom a fungal infection in your respiratory system [24]. It could also be because of inhaling dust in excess [25]. Visit a doctor to detect the exact cause.

On A Final Note…

Health experts point out that, your nose in a window to your overall health. From sensing a freshly baked pie to sensing sinus infections, your nose knows it all.

Read more about: nose nose bleed brain disorder
Story first published: Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 14:00 [IST]
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