In a new study, researchers found that a hormone related to heart disease could also signal unhealthy aging in older people.
People who have too much hormone in their blood have a higher risk to grow weaker or lose their ability to balance before they’re 70.
The hormone is brain natriuretic peptide or BNP.
The research was conducted by British researchers.
BNP is produced in the heart’s left ventricle when the heart is working too hard to pump blood. High level of the hormone in the blood is linked to a high risk of heart disease.
The new finding suggests that it could be more than just a warning sign of heart disease.
In the study, the team examined 1,736 British men and women who have been tracked since their births in 1946. They took physical performance tests at ages 60 to 65.
The researchers found that if people who were in their early 60s have higher-than-normal levels of BNP, they might have a higher risk of the weake body when they are older.
They might walk slower and are less able to raise themselves from a chair and balance on one leg up to 9 years later.
This may provide a reason why many people lose strength and balance late in life, including heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.
In addition, the team found that the hormone levels were more linked to lost balance and strength than health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.
This suggests that BNP may be the best predictor of simple measures of aging.
The researchers suggest that people with high levels of BNP could lessen their risk of unhealthy aging by doing more exercise and eating a healthy diet now.
This advice reinforces earlier findings that exercise may help overcome a genetic history that could raise one’s heart disease risk.
The study is published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.
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