Telomere Testing in Raymond, MS
In 2009, the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine was rewarded to three scientists who had made a significant breakthrough in understanding how the human body ages.
What they discovered was a way to determine your biological age regardless of what your chronological age is. To put it in simpler terms, a healthy person in their fifties (chronological age) may actually have a biological age of somewhere in their forties. The reverse could also be true for a younger person who lives an unhealthy lifestyle.
Their research involved a close study of telomeres, and the implications of their findings have led to telomere testing, the ability to determine the length of your telomeres to better assess how well you are aging.
What are telomeres?
Telomeres are structures that exist at the tips of the chromosomes. At their most basic level, they play a role similar to that of the small plastic tabs at the ends of your shoe laces. The purpose of those tabs is to keep the lace from unraveling, and telomeres provide an equivalent function. As chromosomes divide, telomeres help keep the cell intact.
In turn, each time a chromosome divides, the telomere gets shorter and shorter until the cell reaches a point that it can no longer divide. This shortening of the telomere occurs gradually as we age, and by monitoring these changes, doctors can now provide insight into where you are at in the aging process regardless of how many birthdays you've had.
Why get tested?
A telomere test is a simple blood screening to help you and your doctor understand how your body is aging. This information can be vital in anticipating and treating conditions that arise as we get older.
Telomere test works much in the same way as a cholesterol test. A cholesterol test can alert you to your risk for a heart attack, but instead of a single function, telomere tests can potentially predict numerous conditions. When testing your white blood cells for instance, a doctor can identify your likeliness for developing age-related diseases such as:
- Certain types of cancer
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Alzheimer's disease
A telomere blood test is usually accompanied with a questionnaire about your lifestyle habits. Your answers to these questions will not only help your doctors determine your biological age more accurately, it will assist them in developing your unique treatment plan.
There is currently no medication that will physically extend the length of your telomeres, nor is there a drug that will slow their decline. The only solution is to improve your health through a combination of healthy living and better nutrition .
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