Lowering Your Biological Age Can Improve Heart Health (Here Are Some Essential Steps How)

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There is new research out from the American Heart Association  that shows a link between strong heart health and slower biological aging, and best of all? There are specific steps that can you can take to help get there. 

About the study

The research, by the American Heart Association (AHA) and presented this past weekend in Philadelphia, has revealed a significant link between cardiovascular health and biological aging. The study, involving over 6,500 adults, utilized the AHA's "Life’s Essential 8" checklist to assess cardiovascular health and its impact on biological aging, as measured by phenotypic age. This measure of age is calculated using nine blood markers for metabolism, inflammation, and organ function, plus one's chronological age. Phenotypic age acceleration is the difference between one’s phenotypic age and actual age, with a higher value indicating faster biological aging​.
 

What is phenotypic age?

Phenotypical age is calculated by combining a person’s actual age with the levels of nine markers in the blood collected as part of a typical annual physical. Previous research has shown that phenotypical age correlates well with a person’s risk for premature death.

Among the blood levels that play a role in determining a person’s biological age are those that indicate liver, kidney and immune system health, risk for diabetes, and level of inflammation.

"We found that higher cardiovascular health is associated with decelerated biological aging, as measured by phenotypic age. We also found a dose-dependent association — as heart health goes up, biological aging goes down," study author Nour Makarem, an assistant professor at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, said in a news release from the American Heart Association. "Phenotypic age is a practical tool to assess our body's biological aging process and a strong predictor of future risk of disease and death."

However, researchers also found that the inverse was also evident, in that for those in poorer heart health, the phenotypic age went up, meaning they were biologically "older" than their chronological age.

Dr. Makarem continued, "For example, the average actual age of those with high cardiovascular health was 41, yet their average biological age was 36; and the average actual age of those who had low cardiovascular health was 53, though their average biological age was 57." 

How can we slow aging?

The American Heart Association's (AHA) "Life’s Essential 8" is comprised of these eight steps, all of which have demonstrated significance in slowing down the aging process.

1. Eat Better

2. Be More Active

3. Quit Tobacco

4. Get Healthy Sleep

5. Manage Weight

6. Control Cholesterol

7. Manage Blood Sugar

8. Manage Blood Pressure

The AHA's "Life’s Essential 8" provides a comprehensive approach to maintaining cardiovascular health, which is closely linked to biological aging. Each of these eight steps contributes significantly to slowing down the aging process by promoting heart health, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, and enhancing overall quality of life. According to the AHA, by adhering to these guidelines, individuals can effectively manage their biological age and enjoy a healthier, longer life.

Sources

- https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/?_ga=2.252499981.569559676.1693429947-1069604919.1693247687#!/10871/presentation/9306
- https://www.cbsnews.com/news/8-steps-heart-health-slow-biological-aging-by-6-years/
- https://www.nbcnews.com/health/heart-health/slow-your-biological-age-report-explains-how-rcna123594

Author
Dr. Mark L. Meyer Dr. Meyer graduated from Haverford College with a Bachelor of Science, High Honors, in cellular and molecular biology, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude. He attended the Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed a categorical residency in Internal Medicine, served for one year as an Emergency Department attending physician, and held the title of Clinical Instructor in the Department of Surgery. During this time, Dr. Meyer obtained a J.D. from the Yale Law School, concentrating on medical ethics, scientific research law, and FDA law. He then completed a fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained Level 3 Nuclear Cardiology training.

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