THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BIOLOGICAL AGE:

How It Impacts Health and Disease

In recent years, the term “biological age” has been the topic of discussion among health enthusiasts and researchers alike. With the advent of multiple tests and calculators available, one might wonder why it is becoming such a big deal.

Let’s take a look at chronic and degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and dementia. They all have one thing in common: old age as a risk factor. Simply growing older increases the risk of developing illnesses. But is it fair to say that chronological age alone makes one susceptible to diseases, even for those who have actively taken care of their health?

This is where a person’s biological age comes into play.

Since biological age takes into account multiple factors such as cellular function, organ health, metabolism, and immune system function, it is a much more accurate health predictor compared to chronological age. It is a personalized, overall measure of our health span, based on a person’s current physiological condition. Some tests can even tell you the rate at which you are aging!

Individuals with the same chronological age can actually have different biological ages and, therefore, experience varying health outcomes. We have seen thirty-year-olds with type 2 diabetes and octogenarians whose insulin and blood sugar are optimum.

It is understood that the higher the biological age compared to chronological age, the greater the risk of mortality and morbidity. Not only that, but a higher biological age can also lead to faster disease progression, increased severity of symptoms, and potentially a reduced response to treatments.

A person’s biological age is a significant factor in determining their potential lifespan. People with a lower biological age tend to live longer and enjoy more years in good health, without the burden of chronic diseases.

Taking proactive steps to prioritize our health and wellness can slow down the biological aging process and potentially reverse it. Think of it as an individualized health score. Knowing that number can help doctors and health professionals tailor an action plan to optimize your health further, based on your specific needs. This includes preventive strategies, early detection measures, and targeted treatments.

We should strive not just to add years to life but also to improve the quality of life during those years. Let’s take control of our biological age and nurture our bodies for a healthier and more fulfilling tomorrow.

References

1. Wu, J. W., Yaqub, A., Ma, Y., Koudstaal, W., Hofman, A., Ikram, M. A., Ghanbari, M., & Goudsmit, J. (2021, August 5). Biological age in healthy elderly predicts aging-related diseases including dementia. Scientific Reports, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-95425-5.

2. An, S., Ahn, C., Moon, S., Sim, E. J., & Park, S. K. (2022, March 21). Individualized Biological Age as a Predictor of Disease: Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study (KoGES) Cohort. Journal of Personalized Medicine, 12(3), 505. https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm12030505

Functional medicine Malaysia doctor

Author:
Dr. Shirley Koeh
Date:
13 June 2023

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