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Longevity: when does old age start?

6 July 2018 Leave your Thoughts
Longevity telomere test biological age

As health conditions and associated factors improve, life expectancy of worldwide population increases notoriously. Nowadays, it almost reaches 70 years old pro average, after having doubled throughout the 20th century. Logically, this average presents some differences, depending on the considered region and socioeconomic situation of its inhabitants. These differences in longevity can be easily seen in the following graph from Our World in Data:

 

2015 life expectancy

 

This longevity up rise is elementarily connected with the delay of initial stages appearance of old age. Not every individual ages in the same way, that is why the starting point of old age should not be generalized. The indicator that better identifies the current status of our body and aging rate is the biological age. We cannot have influence on the chronological age, but on the biological one we can –and should take action in order to improve our health.

The discussion point does not only focus on how much we live, but on the quality of life we experience in this advanced stage as well. Increased longevity should be accompanied by good health and self-sufficiency. Accordingly, following this rising concerns on our own health when entering more advanced stages in life, preventive medicine has notably developed in the last few years, recommended as the better group of health therapies and actions in the long-term. A combination of adequate nutrition, lifestyle changes, including physical exercise and healthy habits, such as stop smoking and drinking alcohol in excess, as well as limiting stress, effectively delays our first step into the old-age. In other words, our body and our mind reflect later and in minor way what our chronological age tells.

If within this ‘longevity algorithm‘ healthy habits play an essential role, genetics is also part of the equation. Therefore, an increasing number of researchers are focusing on telomere analysis technologies as the way to objectively measure biological age, bringing to the equation both elements, genetics and lifestyle habits, that primarily impact cellular health. An example of this can be seen on the Frailomic project, where Life Length participates, being a study that employs several biomarkers in order to identify factors which turns frailty linked to aging into disability.

 

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