Sniffing Out Longevity: Could Your Nose Predict Your Lifespan?

As you age, it’s normal for your senses to lose some of their sharpness. Whether it’s struggling to read a menu or turning up the TV volume to hear your favorite show, these changes are typical in the aging process. This decline is due to an increase in sensory threshold, the amount of sensory information needed to trigger a nerve signal to the brain. While a decrease in your senses is normal, there is one particular sense that you should keep an eye on – your sense of smell.

A declining sense of smell signals trouble

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at Michigan State University discovered a connection between a declining sense of smell and an increased risk of death within the next decade. The study followed 2,300 individuals between the ages of 71 and 82, who completed a smell test. Ten years later, researchers found that people with a poor sense of smell were 46% more likely to die.

What your sense of smell has to do with your lifespan

A diminishing sense of smell may be an early sign of serious diseases like Parkinson’s or dementia. These conditions accounted for about 28% of the increased risk seen in the study. However, the other 70% of increased risk remains unknown. Regardless of the cause, it’s essential to pay attention to any noticeable decline in your sense of smell.

Incorporating a sense of smell screening during routine doctor visits might be beneficial as it could catch early signs of health issues. It’s crucial to consult with your doctor if you start having difficulty smelling familiar scents.

Taking action if your sense of smell is declining

If you consult with your doctor and rule out underlying health conditions, it may be due to age. At this point, the best approach is to start living a healthier lifestyle to improve your overall well-being and potentially offset the increased risk associated with a poor sense of smell.

Some healthy habits you can incorporate into your life include:

  • Exercising daily
  • Consuming a Mediterranean diet
  • Engaging with friends and family
  • Participating in activities and hobbies you enjoy
  • Beginning a meditation practice

These habits have been proven to improve longevity and help maintain an overall healthier lifestyle. Don’t ignore the warning signs when it comes to a deteriorating sense of smell. Consult with your doctor and implement healthy habits to reduce your risk of early death.