A defective sense of smell appears to be a good predictor of dying within five years, a new study has found. Researchers tested a nationally representative sample of 3,005 men and women aged 57 to 85 on their ability to identify five smells: rose, leather, orange, fish and peppermint. The study appears online in PLOS One. They controlled for many factors, such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol intake, education, body mass index, race, hypertension, diabetes, heart attack, emphysema, stroke and diet, and those who could not detect the odors were more than three times as likely to die within five years than those who could. The lower their scores on the odor test, the more likely they were to die. Only severe liver damage was a better predictor of death.
The researchers believe that the decline in the ability to smell is an indicator of some other age-related degeneration, and is not itself a cause of death. The lead author, Dr. Jayant M. Pinto, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago, said that loss of smell should not be ignored. “There are treatable causes of olfactory loss,” he said, “so if people have problems, they should get evaluated. This is a gross indication of your health, so if you’re having some trouble, you should see a doctor.”
Tip of the Day
If you want to get more calcium, look for foods with 15% or more of your Daily Value. The % Daily Value (% DV) found on food labels can help you make wise food choices, such as foods high in calcium. The Nutrition Facts table on food labels have information on the nutrients and calories in a food. The Nutrition Facts table can help you see if food provides ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’ of a nutrient. For example, 5% DV or less is a little and 15% or more is a lot. Read food labels and check the serving size and % DV to compare products and make the healthier choice.
“He changes times and seasons, he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”