Doctors have developed a simple blood test that reveals how long someone has left to live.
In the future, all you will have to do is take the test to work out your biological age.
The team at Yale University says finding out how old your body is from the way the organs are working is a much better indicator of health and longevity than chronological age, which is just a convenient way of measuring how long your body has been out of the womb.
They explained that nine biomarkers in the blood determine biological age and the test was more accurate at predicting longevity than any other.
“We showed that even among people who have no diseases, who are presumably healthy, we can still pick up differences in life expectancy. It’s capturing something preclinical, before any diseases present themselves,” said pathologist Morgan Levine.
“It’s picking up how old you look physiologically. Maybe you’re 65-years-old chronologically but physiologically you look more like a 70-year-old, so your mortality risk is more like that of a 70-year-old.”
The test also shows which factors are affecting how someone ages, allowing them to make lifestyle changes to slow down the rate.
“The biggest advantage of this is now being able to say someone’s at high risk, and that they should come in regularly, so you can make sure they’re not developing this or that disease. It’ll show you how can you reduce their risk because you can plug all the numbers in and see how the risk drops if they bring their glucose down, for example,” Levine said.
Women age slower
The test revealed that women often age slower than men.
But the research highlighted that if someone’s biological age was more than their chronological age, they faced a higher risk of dying sooner. People aging the fastest also had more diseases than those aging slowly.
The study also looked at what might drive faster ageing.
The most important factors were growing up in a deprived neighbourhood, poor education and chronic stress, along with lifestyle issues, such as smoking, doing too little exercise and obesity.
“The test can differentiate individuals who appear healthy, who may have otherwise been missed using traditional health assessments,” suggests the report.