Is your biological age younger than your chronological age?
People who have a higher biological age than their actual chronological age have a significantly increased risk of stroke and dementia, especially vascular dementia. These are the results of a study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
As we age, the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disorders increases. Researchers have traditionally relied on chronological age – the number of years a person has been alive – as an approximate measure of biological age.
In order to measure biological age and the link to disease, the researchers used data from the UK Biobank. They studied a cohort of 325,000 people who were all between 40 and 70 years old at the time of the first measurement.
Biological age was calculated using 18 biomarkers, including blood lipids, blood sugar, blood pressure, lung function and BMI. The researchers then investigated the relationship between these biomarkers and the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, stroke, ALS and Parkinson's disease within a nine-year period.
When compared to actual, chronological age, high biological age was linked to a significantly increased risk of dementia, especially vascular dementia, and ischemic stroke, (i.e. blood clot in the brain).
As it is an observational study, causal relationships cannot be established. However, the results indicate that by slowing down the body's ageing processes in terms of the measured biomarkers, it may be possible to reduce or delay the onset of disease.