A hormone found in the blood that’s commonly linked to heart disease might signal when someone is more likely to grow weaker or lose their ability to balance.
People in their early 60s with higher-than-normal levels of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) have been found to walk slower and be less able to raise themselves from a chair and balance on one leg up to nine years after first being studied, according to a study by British researchers published in the journal Circulation.
BNP is primarily produced in the heart’s left ventricle, its main pumping chamber, when the heart is working too hard to pump blood. It’s possible that if a blood test shows someone with higher-thannormal levels in their 30s or 40s, they might be able to reduce their risk of aging more rapidly with exercise and a healthy diet.
The latest study accounted for common reasons people lose strength and balance late in life, including heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.
High levels of the peptides were more associated with lost balance and strength among study participants than health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even smoking.
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