A loss of smell is linked with an increased risk of dying, according to a new study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

For 10 years, researchers studied over a thousand adults aged 40 to 90 years old. During the study, about 23 percent of the participants died. None of the subjects had Alzheimer’s disease, which has been previously linked to a decreased sense of smell. People who had a poor sense of identifying fragrences had about a 20 percent increased risk of dying within 10 years, study co-author Jonas Olofsson told HealthDay.

Read: Use These Tips To Strengthen Your Sense Of Smell

To test how well the participants could sense odors, they sniffed a range of common aromas and had to identify them, as part of a standard, clinical test called the Scandinavian Odor-Identification Test.

Although the researchers didn't prove that an inability to detect common scents leads to an early death, their research showed a significant association between lower test scores and an increased risk of death.

Anosmia, or the complete loss of smell, can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause, according to Mayo Clinic. About 1 to 2 percent of those who live in the U.S. report problems with their sense of smell; however, this number is most likely higher because people rarely report their smell loss, unless severe.

See also: How Does The Nose Smell? The Inner Workings Of Our Sense Of Smell

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