Over the past 30 years, research has uncovered surprising connections between aging and cardiovascular health. But what advances in this field can we expect in the near future? In this article, we'll explore some of the latest breakthroughs that could revolutionize our understanding of aging.
What Are Some of the Promising Fields?
One area of active research is the role of inflammation in heart disease. Inflammation is a normal response of the body to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other heart problems. Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's, significantly increase the progression of plaque buildup, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. Equally important is the research on diagnosing gut microbiome composition, with the aim of positively influencing it via pre- or probiotic-rich diets to reduce inflammation.
Another exciting area of research is the potential for using stem cells to treat heart disease. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that can develop into any type of cell in the body. Scientists are working to find ways to harness this power and use stem cells to repair damage caused by heart attacks or other forms of heart disease.
Currently, we can't study a person's heart since it's inside them, of course. Therefore, an existing heart condition can't be assessed closely. Research is currently underway to better understand why heart cells misbehave and different ways to modify that behavior. Since all of your cells, including your skin cells, contain all of your DNA, iPSC technology is now being used to take a slither of skin from people who have existing heart conditions. By transforming these cells into stem cells, and then into heart cells, scientists can isolate the patient's own heart cells in a dish to find out what the problem is.
Science is finally catching up to how certain factors can influence the aging rate of the heart and other internal organs, like our muscles, kidneys, and lungs. Some interventions that have proven to slow down the aging process include a balanced diet, exercise, and stress reduction. So, keep in mind that there are many ways you can support and maintain your heart health right now without having to wait for new research.