While everyone is destined to grow old, some seem to grow older faster than others — especially if they’ve lived through a bout of COVID-19.

That’s according to the results of a shocking new study, which found COVID-19 ramps up the aging process by three or four years in people who have contracted the virus. “You can start thinking about getting COVID almost as an accelerant to aging,” says Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, director of Washington University’s Clinical Epidemiology Center and author of the study. “The viral infection accelerates the aging process in people.”

However, the effects of COVID-caused aging won’t necessarily be obvious because much of it occurs inside people’s bodies, Al-Aly explains. “What we have seen is that people are losing about three to four percent kidney function in the year that follows that infection,” he says. “That usually happens with aging. Three to four years of aging.”

What changes have you noticed in your body since you recovered from COVID-19?

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