News Picture: Your ‘Biological Age’ Could Affect Your Odds for Stroke, Dementia

How Your 'Biological Age' Impacts Your Chances of Stroke and Dementia

Biological Age Stroke and Dementia Odds at Stake

By Ernie Mundell HealthDay Reporter

There’s your calendar age, and then there’s what scientists call your “biological” age, which is based on various measurements indicating good or not-so-good health.

Now, new Swedish research finds that less healthy folks, with a biological age that outstrips their chronological age, may be at higher odds for dementia and stroke.

“But because people age at different rates, chronological age is a rather imprecise measure,” explained study lead author Sara Hägg, an associate professor in the department of medical epidemiology and biostatistics at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

In the study, Hägg’s group tracked markers such as measurements of blood fats, blood sugar, blood pressure, lung function and BMI, to better assess a person’s biological age. They then looked at data on over 325,000 Brits included in the UK Biobank database. Hägg’s team looked at biological age “biomarkers” for individuals and then compared nine-year rates for neurological illnesses such as dementia, stroke, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and Parkinson’s disease.

Two of the conditions stood out. “If a person’s biological age is five years higher than their actual age, the person has a 40 percent higher risk of developing vascular dementia or suffering a stroke,” said study co-leader Jonathan Mak, a Karolinska doctoral student. Risks for ALS also rose with increasing biological age, but there was no effect seen when it came to Parkinson’s disease.

The study wasn’t designed to prove cause-and-effect, but it’s very possible that getting healthier might reduce any excess risk to the brain, the researchers said. “Several of the values can be influenced through lifestyle and medications,” Hägg noted in an institute news release.

The study was published on November 5, 2023, in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.

More information

Find out more about brain health at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

SOURCE: Karolinska Institute, news release, Nov. 2, 2023

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Hey there readers! Did you know that there’s more to your age than what’s on the calendar? Scientists have come up with a nifty concept known as “biological age” to measure your health in more detail. And guess what? It turns out that if your biological age is older than your chronological age, you might be at a higher risk of developing dementia and stroke. Yikes! Time to start counting the years and the health markers, folks!

According to a recent Swedish study, led by the brilliant Sara Hägg from the Karolinska Institute, a person’s biological age is determined by various factors like blood fats, blood sugar, blood pressure, lung function, and BMI. By analyzing data from over 325,000 Brits, Hägg’s team found that when a person’s biological age is five years higher than their actual age, the risk of vascular dementia and stroke increases by a whopping 40 percent. That’s like adding an extra five years to your age, but this time it affects your brain! Oh no!

Now, before you panic, let’s remember that this study doesn’t prove cause-and-effect. But it does suggest that taking steps to improve your health and reduce your biological age might help lower the risk to your brain. Hägg herself mentioned that several of these health markers can be influenced by lifestyle changes and medications. So why not take control of your health and kick aging to the curb? Trust me, your brain will thank you later!

But wait, there’s more! While stroke and dementia had a strong link to biological age, the same couldn’t be said for other brain conditions like Parkinson’s disease. It seems that the brain has its quirky ways of reacting to age, doesn’t it? Just when you thought you had it all figured out!

Now, I know all this health talk can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, there’s more information available to calm your curious minds. Head on over to Johns Hopkins Medicine for some brain-boosting knowledge.

So remember, folks, age is just a number, but biological age is a whole different story. Take care of your health and show that brain who’s boss!