male doctor listens to adult male patient’s heart using a stethoscope


Improve heart health, get back six years

  • Analysis shows a link between cardiovascular health and biological aging.
  • Adults with excellent heart health may be younger than their chronological age.
  • “Essential Eight” checklist offers ways to boost heart health.

What if you could turn back time and return to a younger age? In some ways, you can, according to a study on heart health.

The study says that having superior heart health may slow the pace of biological aging, reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular and other age-related diseases. It goes on to say that eating healthy foods and meals and sticking to other healthy living routines can help you get there.

Age as a marker

We use chronological age to chart the passage of time. However, physicians are interested in your biological age, which considers more than the date on your birth certificate and may be a better indicator of health and well-being. Biological age is determined by considering chronological age and a series of blood-marker measurements for metabolism, inflammation and organ function.

The bottom line: After accounting for a range of socioeconomic factors, adults with what the study described as “high cardiovascular health” were about six years younger biologically than their chronological age, according to the study. In other words, your license may say 50, but if you have superior heart health, your body may be what doctors expect to see in a healthy 44-year-old.

Perhaps the best news is it is never too late to improve your cardiovascular health score. To do that, focus on things that the American Heart Association refers to as Life’s Essential 8, which fall into two categories:

Healthy behaviors

  • Eat better
  • Be more active
  • Quit tobacco
  • Get healthy sleep

Health factors

  • Manage weight
  • Control cholesterol
  • Manage blood sugar
  • Manage blood pressure

Worth noting: Cardiovascular health and staving off aging depend on multiple factors. In some cases, it may be helpful to consider medications for managing high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes in conjunction with lifestyle improvements.


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