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Biological age for dummies

Updated: May 22, 2023

Image of two young people, the shadows casted are their Olde selves. An image which justifies the importance of biological age

Aging is a natural process that every living being undergoes, and it is commonly measured by chronological age – the number of years one has lived since birth. However, chronological age does not always accurately reflect one's true biological state. In this article, we will explore the concept of biological age, why it is important to know, and the existing ways to measure it.

What does biological age mean?

Biological age, also known as physiological age, is a measurement of an individual's true age based on their overall physical and functional condition. It takes into account various biomarkers that reflect the health of an individual's cells, tissues, and organs. Unlike chronological age, which is fixed, biological age can be influenced by genetic factors, lifestyle choices, and environmental exposures. In essence, biological age provides a more accurate picture of an individual's health and risk of age-related diseases.

Why is it important to know biological age?

Understanding one's biological age is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Health Assessment Biological age serves as a reliable indicator of an individual's overall health. It can provide insight into the risk of developing age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cognitive decline. By knowing their biological age, individuals can take proactive measures to improve their health and potentially delay the onset of these diseases.

  2. Personalized Medicine In the era of precision medicine, understanding an individual's biological age can help healthcare providers tailor medical treatments and preventive strategies to their unique needs. This approach can lead to better health outcomes, as it takes into consideration the varying rates at which individuals age.

  3. Lifestyle Modification By knowing their biological age, individuals can make informed decisions about lifestyle changes that could help slow down the aging process. Adopting healthier habits, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management, can have a positive impact on one's biological age and overall well-being.

  4. Aging Research The study of biological age contributes to our understanding of the aging process and how it can be influenced by various factors. This knowledge can drive the development of novel therapies and interventions to promote healthy aging and extend human lifespan.

Ways to measure biological age

Several methods have been developed to measure biological age, each focusing on different aspects of the aging process. Some of the most common methods include:

  1. Telomere Length Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten as cells divide. Shortened telomeres are associated with cellular aging and increased risk of age-related diseases. By measuring telomere length, researchers can estimate an individual's biological age.

  2. Epigenetic Clock Epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation, can serve as markers of aging. The epigenetic clock is a mathematical algorithm that estimates biological age based on specific DNA methylation patterns. This method has been shown to be a reliable predictor of age-related outcomes, such as morbidity and mortality.

  3. Blood Biomarkers Various blood biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, can be used to assess an individual's biological age. These markers can provide insight into inflammation, immune function, and hormonal balance, which are all associated with the aging process. At Healome we pioneered the way to accurately measure biological age with blood biomarkers.

  4. Physiological Markers Physiological markers, such as lung function, muscle strength, and cognitive performance, can also be used to determine biological age. These measures help evaluate an individual's functional capacity and overall health.

All in all biological age is a more accurate representation of an individual's true age than chronological age, as it reflects their overall physical and functional condition. Knowing one's biological age is important for health assessment, personalized medicine, lifestyle modification.

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