Article at a Glance
- Biomarkers are indicators of health, and tracking them can help determine if interventions to improve your health are working.
- The biomarkers to track during this decade are those that can help direct interventions to protect against age-related disease.
- Improving and preserving health in your thirties forms an important foundation for the following decades.
The choices for your health that you make in your thirties might be some of the most important in your life, and could drastically improve your quality of life over the following decades. Most bodily functions peak shortly before age 30, at which point they begin a gradual continuous decline [R].
During this time, cholesterol and blood pressure start creeping up, and the walls of the arteries can start to fill with fatty deposits [R].
Fortunately, there is a lot that can be done to slow the decline. Your thirties should focus on preserving muscle, improving flexibility, and implementing regular interval training, while optimizing the levels of vitamins that will best protect your bones and brain.
Your fourth decade is a great time to start preventing age-related disease, and tracking biomarkers in your thirties could be the key to securing your future health, happiness, and longevity.
Here are some of the best biomarkers to be tracking in your thirties to keep you ahead of the game.
1. Cholesterol Profile
Age-related cardiovascular disease is generally years away in your thirties, but keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy now is the best way to help stave off cardiovascular disease later in life.
Research suggests that chronically high cholesterol levels increase one’s lifetime risk for heart disease – every decade of raised cholesterol could increase the risk of heart disease by 40%. Even slightly raised cholesterol levels in your mid-thirties may have long-term impacts on the health of your heart [R].
The best biomarker panel to check on cholesterol levels and general cardiovascular health is a full lipoprotein profile, including total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides [R].
The results from a lipoprotein profile can also be used to determine the risk of disease later in life. The triglyceride to HDL-C ratio is a good indicator of any future risk of a heart attack [R].
Even more sensitive than other tests, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) has been found to be an independent predictor for coronary artery disease, so you may want to check it several times throughout your thirties to see if you’re at risk [R]. This may be particularly valuable if you have a family history of heart disease or other risk factors.
Consider tracking these biomarkers bi-annually, more often if any readings are particularly high.
2. Cardiac Reserve Capacity
At around age 30, the heart starts to lose cardiac reserve capacity, which is the difference between the rate at which the heart pumps blood under normal conditions and when it is beating at maximum capacity [R].
An average person at rest may have a heart rate of 70 beats per minute (bpm) and be capable of 185 bpm, so their reserve capacity would be 115 bpm. However, as the cardiovascular system ages, the maximum heart rate declines, and the resting heart rate increases [R].
You can check your reserve capacity with a heart rate monitoring device by comparing heart rate at rest versus at your maximum level of exertion.
The best way to combat this decline in heart function is interval training [R].
3. Body Fat Percentage
Usually, men start gaining weight around 30 years old [R]. Some of this can be attributed to a slowing metabolism, but the majority of this weight gain is due to lifestyle and environmental changes, rather than physiological differences.
Slowing or preventing this weight gain can be done by tracking your body fat and adjusting your diet and exercise accordingly.
Body fat measurements can be done using bioelectrical impedance scales. These measurements can be recorded either weekly or monthly, depending on whether the intended results are weight loss or weight maintenance. Clinics can also provide body scans or caliper tests to estimate your body fat percentage.
4. Blood Pressure
Like cholesterol, diseases caused by high blood pressure won’t likely surface for another few decades, but any problems with blood pressure at this age can increase the risk of heart disease later in life [R].
Blood pressure can be tracked using home blood pressure machines or carried out at a clinic, and can be part of monthly biomarker tracking. If pressures are chronically above 130/80, please see your medical professional.
5. Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is a chemical that relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels and causes them to dilate. This helps to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure, supporting the cardiovascular system and potentially help increase stamina and strength [R].
After the age of 30, the body may be less efficient at extracting oxygen from the blood, and the heart may be less efficient at pumping blood around the body [R, R]. At this age, it is important to preserve blood flow and cardiac health, but the levels of nitric oxide in the body typically decrease with age, making that more difficult [R].
You can increase your levels of nitric oxide through increased intake of certain vegetables, foods with antioxidant properties, nitric oxide supplements, and exercise [R].
The levels of nitric oxide in the saliva can be monitored using saliva test strips [R].
The main focus of this decade should be keeping your body and your mind in their prime to stave off aging as best as possible. Tracking your biomarkers in your thirties can give you direction on where to focus improvements to your health using diet, exercise, and other preventative measures, with the aim of lowering the risk of age-related disease later in life.
You can search the PRIME directory to find qualified providers who offer testing for these biomarkers.
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