How long will you live after the age of 70? Duke scientists discover the formula

A new model for predicting the life expectancy of older people relies less on their diagnoses of specific diseases and more on factors such as their ability to shop for groceries, the amount of certain small cholesterol particles in their blood and the fact that they have never smoked or only occasionally smoked.

According to Duke Health, these results from a study by Duke Health researchers offer a way to predict how long a person will live past age 70. Researchers have identified markers that could tell whether a person will live two, five or 10 more years. years.

“This study was designed to determine the proximal causes of longevity – the factors that predict whether someone is likely to live two or 10 years longer,” said Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus, professor of medicine, pathology and orthopedic surgery at Duke. University School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “Applied properly, these measures could help determine the benefits and harms of screening tests and treatments for older adults.

The scientist came across a donation of blood samples taken in 1992 from people aged at least 71 years. The samples had been stored at the National Institutes of Health and were to be destroyed when Duke scientists came in and analyzed them.

The blood samples were taken before statins were widely used and could skew their study results. The study participants had already been followed for several years and had completed questionnaires about their health habits and background.

Using current and sophisticated analytical tools, the researchers were able to identify a core set of 17 predictor variables that influence longevity. They found that one of the main factors that extended lifespan was physical function, defined as the ability to go shopping or clean one’s house. Surprisingly, having cancer or heart disease were not among the main predictors of lifespan.

For older people living two years after their blood was drawn, the main factor associated with aging was having an abundance of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol made up of very small particles.

“It was particularly surprising,” Kraus said. “We hypothesize that these very small HDL particles are the size best suited to trap and eliminate endotoxin, a potent inflammatory molecule of gut microbes, from the circulation. Small particles may also be best at penetrating the nooks and crannies of cells to remove bad cholesterol, so having more of them could provide that protective benefit.

Among the longest survivors, those living more than 10 years after their blood draw, the best predictor of longevity was a person’s smoking history, with non-smokers faring the best.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin, author of The Healthy Heart Miracle and leading longevity expert, adds that the study found that people over 70 were more likely to live at least 10 years longer if they had other lifestyle factors such as:

• Ability to groom. Lack of motor control required for personal grooming was a strong predictor of short life.

• Score high on a cognitive function test such as the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ).

• Exercise regularly. The higher the frequency and intensity of exercise, the more likely a person was to live longer.

Mirkin points out that the standard tests used by doctors today to measure blood lipid levels are not as reliable at predicting lifespan as the test for small HDL particles.

“This study found that high levels of small-particle HDL are a good predictor of longevity,” he says, according to Dr. “However, the amount of small HDL particles in your bloodstream appears to be genetic, and as far as we know today, cannot be improved with lifestyle changes or medication. Lifestyle changes associated with increased longevity include anything that uses your muscles or your mind.The weaker you are, the shorter your lifespan, and the more active you are, the longer your lifespan.

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