Most Older Adults Experience Significant Loss of Taste
Ninety-four percent of older adults in the United States have age-related damage to at least one sense, with the most prevalent loss related to a sense of taste.
Thirty-eight percent had two deficits and 28 percent have three, four or five, according to “Global Sensory Impairment among Older Adults in the United States” published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Some deficits were mild but others were serious. About 64 percent of the 3,005 people enrolled in the study between the ages of 57 and 85 had a significant deficit in at least one sense with 74 percent experiencing a loss of taste.
“We know that sensory impairment is common and is often a harbinger of serious health problems, such as cognitive decline or falls, as well as more subtle ones like burns, caused by the loss of touch sensitivity, food poisoning that goes undetected because of loss of smell and taste, and smoke inhalation from loss of smell,” said study author Dr. Jayant Pinto, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago. “…People caring for older adults, including family members, caregivers and physicians, should pay close attention to impairments in vision, hearing and smell.”
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