Sometimes our actual age doesn’t line up with how we feel physically. Either we feel older than we actually are or younger, but there is some science behind the reason. One determining factor for the aging process is telomeres. Telomeres are sections of genetic material at the end of each chromosome that shorten as we age. Thankfully, there are tests available to determine the length of the telomeres. Here is everything you need to know about how telomeres affect aging.
What Exactly Are Telomeres
Telomeres’ primary function is to prevent chromosomal fraying when a cell replicates, like the end of a shoelace. They play a significant role in keeping our chromosomes and bodies healthy, and protecting our genetic material. Every time a cell divides, telomeres shorten and shorten exponentially as we age. Telomere shortening allows the rest of our DNA to continue to replicate normally. As your cells split, the telomeres shorten and cells die when the telomeres become too short. Those with shorter telomeres tend to have increased signs of aging.
Why Is Telomere Testing Important
At least 5,000 – 10,000 Americans have disorders related to short telomeres, according to Dr. Armanios of the Telomeres Center at Johns Hopkins. Shorter telomeres have been linked to decreased lifespans, various diseases, and conditions including:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Pulmonary fibrosis
When tested, the length of telomeres is compared to the measurements of people of the same age to determine the cell’s biological age. While the focus is on the shorter telomeres, those that measure excessively longer have shown increased risks for some cancers.
Important Risk Factors to Telomere Shortening
Although certain cells decrease with age naturally, there is information available on individual aspects that can speed up and slow down the breakdown of the telomeres.
These are some lifestyle factors that can attribute to the telomeres shortening:
- Environmental exposures
- Air pollution
- Cigarette smoke
- Poor diet, being overweight
Having a healthy diet and exercising regularly can lengthen the telomeres or slow down the process. So it’s essential to live a healthy lifestyle to benefit your overall health, especially your cellular health.
Stay Young With Biocure
While Biocure offers a variety of age management treatments and resources, testing telomeres allow us to determine your individual aging process. It’s crucial to have a medical professional administer the test and avoid at-home testing. Testing telomeres at home without medical supervision can lead to inaccurate results.
Understanding the biological age of the telomeres can help us assess further treatment options and determine if any lifestyle changes will be necessary. Certain treatments and services can reduce the signs of aging and age-related conditions. Contact us today to see how you can benefit from telomere testing.