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If You’re Having Trouble Smelling, This Could Be the Reason Why

Our senses help us to appreciate things; smelling a beautiful bouquet of roses a loved one has gifted us or finding comfort in the familiar smell of your mother’s chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. But a poor sense of smell in older individuals should not be ignored, as research has linked it to a number of health concerns.

Losing your sense of smell as you age is not exactly uncommon, and often people are unaware that it has changed at all. Medical News Today notes that a study of individuals aged between 53 and 97 years, found that almost a quarter of them had impaired olfaction, but fewer than 10 percent realized this. Thus suggesting it would be beneficial for doctors to conduct tests on smell during checkups.

There is also some reason for concern as loss of smell could be a predictor of diseases such as dementia and Parkinson's, as well as death. Live Science points to research conducted by the Michigan State University on nearly 2,300 participants and published in the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine. This research has indicated that individuals who are unable to properly smell have a “46% higher risk of death 10 years after olfactory abilities were tested, compared to those who passed the smell test”—a simple smell test was conducted at the start of the study.

The findings also noted that 28 percent of the increased risk of death could be “attributed to Parkinson's, dementia and unintentional weight loss…” which can affect a person’s sense of smell. A weakening sense of smell could, therefore, be an early predictor of diseases—although it should be noted that the connection between smell and the risk of death was unexplained in 72 percent.

“The research suggests that sense of smell is an early and sensitive marker for poor health that is already ongoing, but still not clinically recognizable by the patient or their doctors,” Dr. Honglei Chen, lead author of the Michigan State University study, told Healthline.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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