Chronological age vs. Biological age: How old are you really?
Have you ever wondered why people of the same age have very different appearances? No one want to look older than they really are, but what’s the connection between body appearance and age?
As humans, we have two different ages: chronological age (real age) and biological age (body age). Chronological age is the number of years a person has lived, while biological age refers to how old a person seems. People who lead healthy lifestyles generally look younger than their chronological age. On the other hand, people who are less conscious about their health will seem older than they really are.
How do we measure body age?
Everyone knows their age, but what about the body age? Scientists have discovered that the length of telomeres can be used to estimate our biological age. Telomeres are nucleotides that keep the chromosomes from deteriorating and fusing with a nearby chromosome. They help you identify your true biological age and play an essential role in the aging process.
Telomere: The Key to Longevity
Every cell contains a set of chromosomes that encodes all the genetic information of an organism. The chromosomes are comprised of DNA and genes that control the heredity of certain traits, such as eye and hair color, gender, and skin color. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 total) in each cell, and at the end of each chromosome lies a set of DNA sequences called telomeres.
Telomeres shorten as we age and when our cells divide. When the telomeres become too short, our cells stop growing and start to deteriorate. The length of telomeres can be used to determine the cell’s age and how many more times the cells can divide.
Are your telomeres getting shorter??
Telomeres shorten when our cells divide for body growth or repair. However, there are external factors that may aggravate telomere shortening:
Heredity plays a crucial role in the length of telomeres: some of us have the good fortune of inheriting longer telomeres than the average people. According to studies, people with longer telomeres tend to age slower than people with short telomeres.
Food, environment, and lifestyle
As we age, our cells divide in order to produce new cells to replace cells damaged by injury and sickness. Cell degeneration differs depending on each individual’s eating and sleeping habits, as well as surrounding environment. Adopting a healthy lifestyle will greatly delay cell degeneration. On the other hand, harmful activities such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs will negatively impact your cells and force them to divide, thus shortening your telomeres.
Knowing the length of telomeres will affect your life in many ways:
- Studies have shown that people with short telomeres are prone to developing heart diseases, neurological diseases, and other cancers. Knowing the length of your telomeres allows you to better plan for your health.
- Once you know the length of your telomeres, you’ll have a better understanding of your cells’ condition, allowing you to make changes to your lifestyle before things get out of control.
- Understanding telomere length is crucial for physicians who specialize in anti-aging and regenerative medicine. The information can be used to improve treatment plans and diagnose diseases for patients.
Measuring the length of your telomeres
There are many ways to measure your telomeres’ length, but one popular method is Quantitative PCR (qPCR). Within three days you’ll find out whether your telomere is longer or shorter than average. If you have short telomeres, you can start changing your lifestyle and eating habits to make them longer, such as start meditating and exercising, stop smoking and drinking alcohol, and get lots of rest to reduce fatigue and stress.
How often should you measure your telomeres
You should measure your telomeres once every six months to detect changes and modify certain activities in your daily life for positive results.
“If you’re not careful about your health and continue to make bad choices, you’ll look and feel much older than you actually are.”
Please contact us for more information about telomere length.