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People with Chronic Inflammation Are Less Likely to Age Healthily

Update Date: Sep 16, 2013 12:08 PM EDT

For people who suffer from chronic health complications, they have to be diligent about taking their medications and caring for their bodies. Several studies have found that chronic health problems, such as hypertension or diabetes can lead to other health issues especially if they are left untreated. In a new study, researchers focused on the effects of chronic inflammation. They reported that people who suffer from chronic inflammation are less likely to age healthily.

For this study, the researchers looked at medical data on 3044 adults. The participants were 35-years-old and a part of the Whitehall II Study in the United Kingdom. The researchers measured a marker of inflammation known as interleukin-6, which has been tied to multiple age-related illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mental decline. The researchers measured interleukin-6 two times. The measurements were recorded five years apart from one another. The researchers used these measurements to assess patients' development of diseases during a 10-year follow up. Previous studies have only focused on one measurement of interleukin-6.

Based from the data, the researchers were able to group the people into four categories. The first one included people who aged well with the absence of chronic illnesses. The people in this group, which made up of 24 percent of the sample set, had optimal cognitive, physical and cardiovascular functioning. The second group, which was composed of 11 percent of the people in the sample set, included people who had nonfatal or fatal cardiovascular illnesses. The third group was made up of people who died from other diseases. This group accounted for five percent of the people in the study. The last group, which encompassed 61 percent of the participants, was made up of people who had normal aging. The researchers reported that people with higher levels of interleukin-6 had a reduced chance of being categorized in the successful aging group.

"Chronically high levels of interleukin-6 halved the odds of successful aging 10 years later and was associated with increased odds of future cardiovascular disease and death from noncardiovascular causes in a dose-response fashion," Dr. Tasnime Akbaraly wrote.

The researchers stated that research looking at other groups of people would help provide more information on the relationship between chronic inflammation and aging. This study only focused on middle-aged people living in England. This study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

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