Healthy Lifestyle Changes May Slow Aging by Six Years

"Study shows that adopting AHA-recommended lifestyle changes can potentially delay biological aging by up to six years, promoting heart health and longevity."


Worldsfeed Health Desk: The American Heart Association (AHA) has conducted a recent study suggesting that making specific lifestyle changes can slow biological aging by up to six years, leading to improved heart health and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues. This study emphasizes the importance of incorporating the “Life’s Essential 8,” defined by the AHA as key measures for enhancing and maintaining cardiovascular health. The study’s details will be presented at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions 2023 in Philadelphia from November 11-13.

Dr. Nour Makarem, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, who is the senior author of the study, pointed out that improving heart health through healthy lifestyle changes not only reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease but also slows down the biological aging process, potentially increasing the number of healthy years lived.

While chronological age is simply determined by calendar years, the AHA tracks phenotypic age, which factors in actual age and blood markers measuring elements like metabolism, inflammation, and organ function. Phenotypic age serves as a practical tool to assess the body’s biological aging process and predict future disease and mortality risks.
The study found a direct relationship between improved heart health and slower biological aging, indicating that even gradual lifestyle improvements can be beneficial for healthy longevity.

The eight lifestyle behaviors essential for optimal heart health are:

  1. Following a healthy sleep schedule.
  2. Not smoking.
  3. Getting regular physical activity.
  4. Adhering to a healthy diet.
  5. Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  6. Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels.
  7. Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
  8. Maintaining healthy blood pressure.

After evaluating these eight markers, individuals receive a score of high, moderate, or low heart health from the AHA. High scores are associated with a younger physiological age, while low scores are linked to an older physiological age.

It’s worth noting that one limitation of the study is that participants’ heart health markers were assessed at only one point in time, which didn’t account for any subsequent changes.

Dr. Bradley Serwer, a cardiologist not involved in the study, emphasized that this data reinforces the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise, not smoking, and monitoring cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, for extending and improving life.

Additionally, social and spiritual fulfillment were noted as important factors in achieving longevity, along with ongoing advancements in biotechnology and anti-aging research, which have helped identify biochemical steps and mediators related to cellular deterioration. These discoveries allow for intervention in clinical studies to delay or inhibit these aging processes.

In summary, the AHA study highlights the connection between chronological and biological age and the positive impact of adopting healthy lifestyle habits on longevity and quality of life. The ultimate goal is not only to live longer but to enjoy a healthier and more fulfilling life for as many years as possible. The American Heart Association remains dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke.

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