Anti Aging Practices
A new study indicates that adhering to practices that promote good cardiovascular health may slow the process of biologic aging by up to six years. The findings from this study of more than 6,500 adults-average age of 47-will be presented at the American Heart Associations’ Scientific conference in Philadelphia.
The study researchers say that people with the best cardiovascular health were about six years younger biologically than their actual age. Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones, the chairman of the advisory writing group for The AHA’s (American Heart Association) health assessment tool called Life’s Essential 8 tells us , “These findings help us understand the link between chronological age and biological age and how following healthy lifestyle habits can help us live longer. Everyone wants to live longer, yet more importantly, we want to live healthier longer so we can really enjoy and have good quality of life for as many years as possible.”
Life’s Essential presents 8 factors that are the most important to slow down the ageing process. Four of the eight are modifiable lifestyle practices and four are modifiable health markers To measure biological aging, researchers checked metabolism, organ function and inflammation. The term “phenotypic age acceleration” is the difference between one’s biological age and actual chronological age, with higher values indicating faster biological ageing.
After accounting for social, economic and demographic factors, researchers said having the highest Life’s Essential 8 score – which means having good cardiovascular health – was associated with a biological age of about six years younger.
The senior study author Nour Makarem, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre, in New York City, said: “We found that higher cardiovascular health is associated with decelerated biological ageing, as measured by phenotypic age. We also found a dose-dependent association – as heart health goes up, biological ageing goes down.”
For example, the average actual age of those with good heart health was 41, yet their average biological age was 36; and the average actual age of those who had poor cardiovascular health was 53, though their average biological age was 57.
Makarem said: “Greater adherence to all Life’s Essential 8 metrics and improving your cardiovascular health can slow down your body’s ageing process and have a lot of benefits down the line.”
The eight health practices found to be anti-aging by the American Heart Association:
- Eat a healthy diet- A diet low in sugars and processed carbohydrates and high in nutrients is what should be aimed at. Reducing or eliminating fried foods is also recommended. Starches like bread,pasta , potatoes and rice are used to accompany too many of the meals most Americans eat. These items are not unhealthy items per se, but when they are used with too many meals they promote weight gain, which diminishes cardiovascular health. The processed, sugar containing items like cakes, cookies, and candies are never considered a healthy food choice and should be consumed minimally, if at all.
Nuts and seeds provide protein, essential minerals and healthy fats to the diet. Although they are a healthy item, too much needs to be avoided because nuts are caloric and can promote weight gain if eaten to excess.
A wide variety of produce in vegetables and fruits provides the kind of items that will help a patient maintain a healthy weight, and are also rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber rounding out a health diet.
- Be more active. One of the most consistent research finding with regard to health and ageing is that exercise is essential. A sedentary lifestyle has been shown to be associated with poor health outcomes for many diseases- cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia are just three of the very long list of diseases that one is at risk for with a sedentary lifestyle. The good news here is that a person can be more active without engaging in the more demanding, very athletic exercises. Just walking for exercise is sufficient to make a difference in a person’s health in comparison to having a sedentary lifestyle which contains no more activity than required to go about a persons’ workday if that worday makes no physical demands on the body.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is clearly a risk factor for heart disease cancer- And smokers are not only more likely to get lung cancer but smoking has been shown to be a risk factor for many other cancers as well, such as cancer of the throat, esophagus, stomach, kidneys, pancreas , liver , gallbladder, cervix , colon and rectum. Aside from the cancer risk smoking is very bad for the lungs causing emphysema and chronic bronchitis lung disease. Beyond these smokers have more diabetes, dental problems, hearing and visual impairment, infections.
- Get healthy sleep. Research is accumulating which confirms what has long been suspected, that their are numerous health benefits from achieving good sleep and there are harmful effects from poor sleep. Dementia has been shown to be promoted by poor sleep ,where as slowing the time of onset of dementia is promoted by sleeping well. Poor sleep is also associated with obesity
- Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity imparts an elevated risk of heart attack, and stroke. It is a major risk factor for diabetes. Osteoporosis is promoted by the excess weight the joints of the hips, knees, ankles, have to carry. Sleep apnea and other breathing problems occur with excess weight. Gallbladder disease is another consequence. And even mental illnesses such as clinical depression, and anxiety are associated with obesity.
- Control cholesterol. Elevated levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) is associated with the development of atherosclerosis, commonly called hardening of the arteries. This involves the buildup of plaque in the arteries, and the consequence is the wide array of cardiovascular disease -coronary blockage-heart attack and strokes that may result.
- Watch blood sugar. elevated blood sugar defines the condition of diabetes mellitus. Having diabetes quickens the aging process because diabetes is associated with so many of the conditions which cause aging more rapidly-heart disease , cancer disease, kidney disease and many other health problems. Obesity is a major factor in the development of diabetes and must be avoided as noted above, because of its association with so many health problems
- Manage blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure poses a particular risk to heart-atherosclerosis, angina, heart attack, and congestive heart failure. Elevated blood pressure causes strokes. It also is associated with kidney damage . Eye disease and memory loss are associated with high blood pressure. And erectile dysfunction is yet another consequence.