Seeking the Secret to Slowing Aging? Study Recommends a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

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Can better lifestyle choices delay aging? Researchers now say that adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle could be the key to slowing down biological aging.

Adopting heart-healthy behaviors not only helps individuals with increased risk of heart disease and stroke offset them, but the benefits gained from better heart health may help them delay the process involved in the aging of the body and its cells, according to the latest study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“Our study findings tell us that no matter what your actual age is, better heart-healthy behaviors and managing heart disease risk factors were associated with a younger biological age and a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, death from heart disease and stroke and death from any cause,” senior study author Jiantao Ma said.

The researchers investigated how DNA methylation might link cardiovascular health to cell aging and mortality risk. DNA methylation levels are a leading biomarker for estimating biological age.

The study analyzed the risk factors of heart disease in 5,682 adults who were part of the Framingham Heart Study using interviews, physical exams, laboratory tests, and the American Heart Association's Life's Essential 8 tool.

Life's Essential 8 are key measures for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health. The healthy behaviors listed under the tool include eating healthier, increasing activity levels, quitting tobacco, ensuring restful sleep, managing weight, controlling cholesterol, and regulating blood sugar and blood pressure.

The researchers also estimated the biological age of the participants based on DNA methylation and their genetic tendency toward accelerated biological aging.

The participants were then followed up for 11-14 years to track the occurrence of new cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular-related deaths, or deaths from any cause.

“For each 13-point increase in an individual's Life's Essential 8 score, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease for the first time was reduced by about 35%, death from cardiovascular disease was reduced by 36%, and death from any cause was reduced by 29%,” the news release stated.

In individuals more at risk of accelerated biological aging, the Life's Essential 8 score had a greater impact on outcomes, potentially via DNA methylation. DNA methylation accounted for a 39% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as cardiovascular death and a 78% reduction in all-cause death.

“While there are a few DNA methylation-based, biological age calculators commercially available, we don't have a good recommendation regarding whether people need to know their epigenetic age. Our message is that everyone should be mindful of the eight heart disease and stroke health factors: eat healthy foods; be more active; quit tobacco; get healthy sleep; manage weight; and maintain healthy cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels,” Ma added.

Published by Medicaldaily.com

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