New research reveals a fascinating connection between heart health and the process of biological aging. According to a study analyzing data from over 6,500 adults as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, individuals with high cardiovascular health were found to be biologically younger by approximately 6 years compared to their chronological age.
The study, which used phenotypic age as a tool to assess biological aging and predict future disease and mortality risk, discovered that as heart health improves, biological aging slows down. Conversely, individuals with lower levels of heart health had higher phenotypic ages, indicating that they were biologically older than expected.
To determine the participants’ levels of heart health, the researchers employed the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Essential 8” checklist. This checklist includes steps such as eating better, being more active, quitting tobacco, getting healthy sleep, managing weight, controlling cholesterol, managing blood sugar, and controlling blood pressure.
Adhering to the Life’s Essential 8 metrics and improving cardiovascular health not only slows down the body’s aging process but also offers numerous health benefits. The findings emphasize the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyle habits to live a longer and healthier life.
However, the study acknowledges a limitation in that cardiovascular metrics were only measured once, preventing the assessment of long-term changes in heart health. Nevertheless, the study provides valuable insights into how heart health plays a crucial role in biological aging.
The research, funded by the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, will be presented at the AHA’s upcoming Scientific Sessions 2023 in Philadelphia later this month. This presentation will enable experts to delve further into the study’s findings and discuss potential implications for the field of cardiovascular health and aging.
As scientists continue to unravel the intricate relationship between heart health and biological aging, these findings offer hope and motivation for individuals to prioritize their cardiovascular well-being. By following healthy lifestyle habits and nurturing a strong heart, people can potentially slow down the aging process and enjoy a longer, healthier life.
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