How do we measure your Health Age, and is this more important than your chronological age?
If you always thought of your age as the number of years you have lived, you may realize that the number of years you have lived doesn’t represent how healthy you are or how young or old you look when you attend your high school reunion where everyone is the same chronologic age. When you go to your reunion you will observe that many friends look much younger or older than their chronologic age! Why do we age so differently? How do we measure your age as how healthy you are which also dictates how long you might live and how healthy you will be until you die? Last week we talked about how you can change the activity of your genes so that you live longer and healthier than your inheritance predicts, and today I would like to discuss how to measure your true health age with just one of two possible lab tests.
How you look is just one way of judging your Health Age. We all reflect our health age in our physical appearance especially our skin hue, texture and tone. Other ways of determining your general HealthAge without a medical test is your family history of diseases, your history of exposure to toxins: environmental, alcohol, drugs, smoking and other lifestyle choices such as your diet, and exercise history and habits. These are indirect methods of measuring health and your Healthage.
Indirect ways to measure Health Age:
- Appearance, and skin quality
- Family History
- Exposure to environmental toxins: environmental, alcohol, drugs, smoking
- Habits: alcohol, smoking, and drugs
- Diet history
- Exercise history
More direct ways of measuring your Health age include blood tests for the hormones that keep you young and healthy, specifically Testosterone, Growth Hormone, Thyroid tests kidney and liver testing, Adrenal Testing with (aldosterone and cortisol levels), as well as lipid and inflammation blood tests and measurement of your body composition. These are other ways I evaluate a patient for their Health Age. They combine to give me a picture of overall health and a low health age.
Direct ways to measure Health Age
- Blood tests for hormones that decrease with age: testosterone, estradiol, growth hormone, thyroid, adrenal testing
- Blood tests for liver and Kidney health
- Blood tests for indicators of unhealthy aging: lipids, inflammation, homocysteine, HBA1C, insulin levels and CBC (blood count)
- Body Composition-with InBody machine
- Level of stress in your life
The above factors can be tested to evaluate how healthy you are and how long you may live.
Until recently we did not have a test to judge all of these factors together at one time with one test. Now we have two tests to measure your HealthAge with self-administered blood tests to tell us your Health Age, how old you really are. Both the Telomere length test and the test of your epigenetic changes that alter your health are good measures of your Health Age. Armed with this information I can tighten up your lifestyle to inactivate some of your most dangerous mutations that you inherited or advise you on how worrisome your future health looks and to motivate you to change your lifestyle. I can even watch progress in your treatment plan by retesting you!
The Telomere test evaluates the length of the ends of your DNA, the telomeres. The longer the ends of the telomeres, the lower your health age, the healthier you are for your age and most probably the longer you will live without illness. The second way to look at your DNA and how your lifestyle has altered the activity of your DNA is by doing a TruAge® Test which measures the methylations on your genes that turn off your dangerous genes, causing them to be inactivated, and you to be healthier. Methylation of your basic genetic profile is called epigenic modulation of your genes. We talked about this during my last podcast, where I explained that you are not really crippled by your family history of illness and your own genetics, but that you can modify your genetic activity with lifestyle changes. Measuring your Health Age is now being done by a company called Truage®, and you can order the test yourself to see where you stand in terms of your health age.
Knowing your health age gives some of my patients a wakeup call to clean up their diet, exercise, bad habits and improve their general health. It also stops many of my patients from giving up on themselves because they were born with “bad genetics” or a family filled with disease.
For those other patients who have attempted to be healthy throughout their lives, Truage® knowledge gives them the confidence that their efforts have been useful and have resulted in a healthier body and mind. They can stop worrying about “what will get them” later in life. It Is reassuring that we are not merely the sum of our genes with a life determined when we are conceived, but we can adjust the genetic structure of our genes and turn off some dangerous gene by living a healthy life, making you live a healthier and longer life.
What can you do to reverse the genetics you have been given and to make up for poor lifestyle choices in the past?
The things that can do to lower your Health age include:
- Replacement of hormones when they become deficient, specifically testosterone and estradiol, in non-oral delivery system
- Nutritious whole food diet without junk food
- Achieving ideal weight
- Daily exercise
- Good sleep
- Supplements that take the place of a perfect diet
- Medications that decrease blood pressure and risks of heart disease
- Management of stress
- Minimal alcohol, and no tobacco or drugs
My patients are motivated to get better and lengthen their lives, by decreasing their Health Age which increases their life span.
I have been cognizant of these factors my whole life and did a good job of all of the above except good sleep and management of stress because I was an OBGYN for 29 years which is one of the most stressful specialties in medicine. These lapses caused by my chosen profession, finally left me with a heart arrhythmia and I had to quit delivering babies in my mid 60s to become healthier. I now am careful to manage all of the above factors to improve my health and health age and give me the best chance of living a healthy long life.
We all have two ages: Chronologic age and Health age, our True Age. We can’t change one of them, but we can alter our Health or Biologic age through lifestyle changes, replacing hormones excellent diet, supplements and exercise.
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This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author. www.BioBalanceHealth.com (314) 993-0963