New ways to assess stress levels based on blood tests help predict the physical wear and tear of the body, often associated with the natural aging process, scientists from Queen’s University Belfast have found.
The researchers found that a set of biomarkers can be used to predict the future state of human health and the associated quality of life for up to five years.
About a quarter of adults in the UK now, according to the publication, have been diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases, and the so-called multimorbidity is concentrated in the lower socio-economic groups. According to forecasts, it will increase over the next 15 years.
“Early signs of stress-related aging, which can eventually lead to chronic diseases and even early death, may be difficult to detect in younger and healthier populations,” the scientists warned.
After studying more than seven thousand blood samples, the team created a “rating” of allostatic load (AL), which shows the health risks. They compared AL with the self-assessment of physical health, taking into account factors such as age, income, education, exercise, and diet.
The study shows “how biomarkers can predict physical health beyond how people evaluate themselves, providing much more accurate and objective data for predicting a person’s health status.”
The authors of the work suggested that information about allostatic load based on simple blood tests can become a catalyst for lifestyle changes or other measures that delay premature aging and reduce the risk of mortality.