How Good is Your Sense of Smell? Your Life May Depend on It

Whether you can smell that bread baking or not may determine how much longer you live.

According to a new study, a defective sense of smell appears to be a good predictor of dying within five years.

I remember my grandmother, who lived into her early 80's, complaining that she just couldn't taste food anymore.  But now it looks like this loss applies to smell, as well.

Now, some of us -- stuck in traffic or on a crowded subway or in line behind someone whose shirt bears last night's meal -- might be grateful for that.

I suffer from allergies that stuff up my nose and I used to believe that was a good thing -- if I couldn't taste food, it would help me lose weight.

But just the opposite happens.  You eat more in the hopes that you will taste (or smell) something.

The good news is that 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.  But let's face it.  It may tell you death is near.

Lead study authors say loss of the ability to smell is not something to ignore.  They say 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," they point out.


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