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What is our real age and how does it affect our health?

by cardiologist Angelos Tsipis

In our day to day life, our age refers to our date of birth. However, our 'real age' in relation to the age of our organs and cells is determined by the biological state of our body and is directly linked to life expectancy.     

The above can explain why people of the same age, for example old classmates, differ in appearance and may look older or younger than their peers, and why people from different socio-economic and geographic strata have a different effect on their bodies and their appearance over time.

Biological age is determined by: a) external environmental factors (environmental pollution), b) personal, individual habits (smoking, diet, quality of sleep, working conditions, lack of exercise, inadequate control of anxiety and stress), c) genetic factors that may be involved in hereditary diseases or conditions. However, the power of external factors has been shown in studies on twins, where only 2% of ageing has been attributed to the genes. So, biological age is determined by the overall function of the organs and the wear and tear that they have gone through over time.


Real ageing involves cardiovascular function, brain processes, musculoskeletal capacity, is expressed in our overall external appearance, such as:

  • skin (texture, wrinkles, loose skin, loss of elasticity and tightness).
  • loss of muscle tone, reduced mobility, painful joints, accumulation of fat tissue.

Given that external factors and personal habits prevail over genetic factors, each one of us can slow down the effects of time by modifying and improving the conditions that make up our daily routine.

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