5 Diseases That Doctors May Suspect By Smell

Lifestyle & Health

April 17, 2019 16:16 By Fabiosa

Many people tend to take the sense of smell for granted. Every day, we are surrounded by hundreds of smells – aromas coming from bakeries and cafes, exhaust fumes, perfumes, and the like.

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Still, each of us gives off a particular scent. A mechanic smells like machine oil, a hairdresser – like hairspray, and a pharmacist smells of medicines.

Few people know that some smells of the human body can speak about our health. What problems can they help to reveal?

5 diseases that doctors may suspect by smell

1. Renal failure

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One of the signs of this disease is breath smelling of ammonia. This is explained by the fact that the body doesn’t receive a sufficient amount of useful substances, so the kidneys can no longer perform their function properly and fail to remove all products of decay.

2. Liver failure

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A putrid, lightly sweet breath is one of the signs of liver problems. Other symptoms include:

  • yellow skin;
  • abdominal swelling;
  • confusion and disorientation;
  • swollen legs.

3. Multiple sclerosis

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In order to diagnose this serious disease, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the breath are analyzed. Researchers claim that multiple sclerosis is accompanied by a distinct odor coming from the mouth.

4. Diabetes

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People suffering from diabetes give off the smell of rotten apples. Some also compare it to the smell of printer ink, adhesive plasters, or new shower curtains. Diabetes can also be indicated by acetone breath.

5. Schizophrenia

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The analysis of smell is also used to diagnose this severe mental disorder, where studies found that people with schizophrenia have certain smell identification deficits.

A real-life case

British Joy Milne learned to identify Parkinson's by smell. The woman recognizes it in those who have long been suffering from this incurable disease, as well as in those who are about to get sick.

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Joy discovered this skill when she identified a specific smell coming from her sick husband's T-shirt. Later, the woman started to notice it in other people suffering from Parkinson’s.

Smell is a powerful sense that can help us timely recognize serious diseases and take appropriate measures. That’s why you shouldn’t ignore specific odors of your body or those of your loved ones.


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.