Plastic Surgery: Case Studies


Dysgeusia, also known as parageusia, is a distortion of the sense of taste. Dysgeusia is also often associated with ageusia, which is the complete lack of taste, and hypogeusia, which is a decrease in taste sensitivity. An alteration in taste or smell may be a secondary process in various disease states, or it may be the primary symptom. The distortion in the sense of taste is the only symptom, and diagnosis is usually complicated since the sense of taste is tied together with other sensory systems. Common causes of dysgeusia include chemotherapy, asthma treatment with albuterol, and zinc deficiency. Liver disease, hypothyroidism, and rarely certain types of seizures can also lead to dysgeusia. Different drugs could also be responsible for altering taste and resulting in dysgeusia. Due to the variety of causes of dysgeusia, there are many possible treatments that are effective in alleviating or terminating the symptoms of dysgeusia. These include artificial saliva, pilocarpine, zinc supplementation, alterations in drug therapy, and alpha lipoic acid. A major cause of dysgeusia is chemotherapy for cancer. Chemotherapy often induces damage to the oral cavity, resulting in oral mucositis, oral infection, and salivary gland dysfunction. Oral mucositis consists of inflammation of the mouth, along with sores and ulcers in the tissues.[3] Healthy individuals normally have a diverse range of microbial organisms residing in their oral cavities; however, chemotherapy can permit these typically non-pathogenic agents to cause serious infection, which may result in a decrease in saliva. In addition, patients who undergo radiation therapy also lose salivary tissues.[4] Saliva is an important component of the taste mechanism. Saliva both interacts with and protects the taste receptors in the mouth. Saliva mediates sour and sweet tastes through bicarbonate ions and glutamate, respectively. The salt taste is induced when sodium chloride levels surpass the concentration in the saliva.[6] It has been reported that 50% of chemotherapy patients have suffered from either dysgeusia or another form of taste impairment.[3] Examples of chemotherapy treatments that can lead to dysgeusia are cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, vismodegib[7], and etoposide.[3] The exact mechanism of chemotherapy-induced dysgeusia is unknown.

Relevant Topics in General Science