According to a recent study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), people vary widely in their rate of biological aging.
Tracking the function of a number of systems in the body, including gum health, shows that some people age much more rapidly than others, meaning that chronological age is essentially meaningless for many people.
Measuring Your True Age
The point of this study is that biological age and chronological age are different. Although you may have the same number of years on this planet as other people, your “actual miles” may be very different because your body’s systems might have altered function in dramatically different ways from those of another person.
To attempt to determine the true age of subjects, researchers looked at 18 different body systems whose functions change as a result of age, including:
- Heart and blood vessels
- Immune system
They measured these traits for 954 people born in 1972-1973. Measurements were conducted when people reached the ages of 26, 32, and 38.
The results showed that while some people seemed virtually frozen at a younger age, others experienced accelerated aging. Some even aged about three years biologically for each one year chronologically. At the end of the study, some people were essentially the same as they had been at the beginning, while others had the health indicators one would expect of a person age 60.
Are You Aging Faster Than You Want?
If you want to maintain your health, it’s important to understand whether you are in the group that is virtually frozen in time or the group that is aging rapidly, and get treatment accordingly.
It’s also possible, although the study doesn’t say so, that poor gum health can be a major cause of advanced aging. Gum disease can contribute to poor health in many of the tracked systems, including the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and immune system. By treating your gums, we may be able to slow down the clock and help you stay healthier longer. And, of course, cosmetic dentistry can help you look younger, too.