Face the Truth: How Your Looks Hint at Your Hidden Health

  People age all the time, but their appearance does not necessarily keep pace with their age. When the appearance does not match the age and clearly looks older or younger than the actual age, different people will have different explanations for this. Especially if you look older than your actual age, it is often interpreted as premature aging. In fact, many scientific studies support the reasoning that there are actually signs of aging.
  A long-term follow-up heart study in Copenhagen found that gray hair, facial wrinkles, and male pattern baldness are obvious signs of aging, which may indicate that people are at a higher risk of myocardial infarction, especially those with much longer white hair. , compared with those without white hair, the risk is more obviously increased. In addition to these specific external characteristics, a general feeling of “looking older” is also useful for assessing health risks.
  Interfered by external factors such as clothing and grooming, it is not easy to guess a person’s age based on visual information alone. In 2016, researchers from the Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark conducted a comparative study on nearly two hundred groups of identical twins and found that even if twins have the same genes and very similar looks, people can still tell the difference between their faces. Read clues to aging too quickly.
  These elderly twins were over 70 years old as early as 2001. Researchers asked people to guess the age of the elderly through their ID photos. The results found that changes in face or dress will affect people’s perception of the age of the elderly. . Statistics more than a decade later also show that the older twin is more likely to die earlier. Facial cues become a predictor of risk of survival or death.
  Although many studies have discovered some health secrets hidden behind the face, there are not many studies that systematically analyze the relationship between appearance and aging. In order to clarify what it means to look inconsistent with age, in March 2023, researchers from Erasmus University in the Netherlands and other institutions tried to investigate how people’s perceived age is related to a series of aging by analyzing more data. relationship between diseases.
Look younger and healthier

  As expected, those who looked younger than their actual age had a lower risk of a variety of age-related diseases and, overall, had better cognition, corresponding to the higher risk among older-looking people. Function. Relevant research was published in the “British Journal of Dermatology”, providing a certain reference for scientific face reading.
  The phenomenon of appearance being inconsistent with age is very common in daily life. In order to understand this phenomenon more scientifically and deeply, we must first distinguish three concepts about age. In addition to sensory age, which can be assessed by people’s appearance alone, chronological age and physiological age are also more valuable references for health and aging.
  Daniel Belsky, an associate professor at Columbia University School of Public Health who has long studied aging issues, told reporters, “Actual age measures the time since birth, while physiological age is a measure of health. A physiological age value can be understood as a person’s age in Typical health status at this chronological age.”
  In other words, according to the normal aging rate, a person’s physiological age and chronological age should be close to or even consistent with a person in good health. But in reality, some people’s biological age will deviate significantly from their actual age, showing an atypical health state. Among them, if the biological age is younger than the actual age, it means that the overall health status is better than that of the average person of the same age, while the biological age is greater than the actual age, the degree of aging is deeper.
  The analysis of sensory age in the latest research actually explores the possibility of identifying aging through a simple way of vision, and the results show that looking younger is indeed associated with a lower risk of various diseases. Specifically, looking five years younger than your actual age has a significantly lower risk of osteoporosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cataracts, and hearing loss, as well as better cognitive performance.
  These results are based on the analysis of health data of more than 2,600 European middle-aged and elderly people. It is worth noting that the age distribution of the people included in the study ranges from their 50s to their 80s, and they are at a stage where age-related diseases are significantly increasing.
Young people’s bodies are not necessarily young

  Although current relevant research focuses on middle-aged and elderly people, it does not mean that the pace of maturity and aging only begins to accelerate suddenly after entering middle age. There is evidence that among young people in their twenties and thirties, as their chronological age steadily increases, the gap in their biological ages begins to appear. Looking at specific manifestations, people who age faster have poorer physical abilities, cognitive decline, and brain aging. These people often feel that their health is getting worse and they look older.
  Relevant research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015. What’s even more cruel is that these observed aging gaps occur between the ages of 26 and 38. The same 38-year-old is not yet middle-aged, but the physiological age of different people is obviously different. Daniel Belsky, now an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Center for Aging Research at Columbia University, was involved in the study. Over a period of nearly 12 years, researchers recorded changes in a range of physiological indicators in nearly a thousand participants.
  “Aging is a process that starts early in life. We can see signs of it in healthy young people, and some people age faster than others already at a young age. So, maintain a healthy lifestyle , seeking an environment with clean air and water, which is safe and reliable, and creating opportunities to participate in social interactions is also a priority.” Daniel Belsky told reporters, “In some ways, this is self-evident “But it’s important to recognize that even in youth, which we tend to think of as invulnerable, our lifestyles and environments can influence our aging trajectory, with long-lasting consequences.” Studying aging isn’t easy at the moment
  , Because compared with the life span of animals such as mice, which can be quickly observed in animal studies, the time span from birth to death in humans is much longer. After entering middle-aged and old age, the increase in age-related diseases makes it easier to observe people’s aging. Relatively speaking, the signs of aging in young people are less easy to detect. However, when it comes to delaying aging, young people actually have more time and opportunities to make changes to improve their own health. Therefore, identifying the signs of aging as early as possible and understanding the laws of aging are of great significance to alleviating the pressure on global public health in the context of aging.
Detect signs of aging early

  ”I’m not sure individuals really need to measure their biological age.” Daniel Belsky explained that aging is needed to be measured in epidemiological studies, on the one hand, to identify factors that accelerate or delay aging, and also to Evaluate whether some anti-aging programs, policies, lifestyle interventions, and drug therapies are effective. “However, for those who do want to know more about their aging and health, there are a range of tools on the market that can help estimate biological age, from blood tests to DNA tests. These tests themselves are not dangerous, but the results should Interpret with caution, and it is best to interpret relevant results with the help of healthcare professionals.” In
  September 2023, a research report published in “The Lancet Health and Longevity” showed that chest X-ray examination, a technology that has been widely used, It may be used to assist in assessing human aging. By training and developing related artificial intelligence models, the researchers used chest radiographs to estimate the age of the client.
  The results show that for relatively healthy people, there is a strong correlation between the age estimated by artificial intelligence through chest X-ray and the actual age. But for people with pre-existing medical conditions, the difference between estimated and actual age is associated with multiple chronic conditions, identifying increased risk for hypertension, interstitial lung disease, chronic renal failure, and more. This means that common picture information such as chest X-rays may become an aging biomarker to help people evaluate the status of chronic diseases and even predict life span, while improving the level of personalized intervention and treatment.
  Compared with these methods that rely on medical equipment, looking at the face directly and relying on whether the appearance matches the age to roughly assess aging and related health risks, although the accuracy is limited, is obviously more concise.

  However, it should be noted that, including looking at faces to assess sensory age, many relevant studies currently have thousands of samples, but the sources are relatively single and lack sufficient representation. Ethnic differences are not practical in sensory age assessment. plays an important role, which is also an obvious limitation of related research. Whether the health implications of appearance and age mismatch are effective in all types of communities remains to be confirmed by more research.
  Comparative studies on skin aging have long found that Asians and Europeans have very different skin aging trajectories. Taking Chinese and French women as an example, a small sample study shows that Chinese women start to develop wrinkles on their faces almost ten years later than French women. This time difference will make Chinese women look significantly younger at this time, but by the age of four In their teens, Chinese women will experience rapid aging in terms of facial wrinkles, showing a non-linear trend. In comparison, French women’s aging in this aspect is relatively stable.
  For example, due to the differences in facial development between different races, the accuracy of applying the sensory experience of one group to predict the age of people in another group will be relatively limited. In addition, there are cultural differences in how people dress in different societies. If we understand the phenomenon of appearance and age mismatch in a cross-cultural context, we may find different rules.
Efforts to delay aging

  In fact, when it comes to looking at faces, whether the appearance matches the age is only one aspect. In 2022, biological research also found that there may be a connection between physical attractiveness and health indicators such as immune function. After a series of experiments and tests, researchers found that people who were more physically attractive also had better immune performance.
  Summer Mengelkoch, a researcher in experimental social psychology at Texas Christian University who participated in the study, told reporters that although a person who cares too much about physical attractiveness may appear superficial, their research shows that people pay attention to When your partner is physically attractive, you may not only care about looks, but you may also use this to select a healthy partner.
  The latest research starts from the gap between sensory age and actual age, providing more evidence for scientific face reading. By identifying the signs and risk factors of aging as early as possible, you can take action to slow down aging. In May 2023, researchers from Harvard Medical School found in mice and human studies that physiological age will fluctuate in both directions under the influence of stress. When stress is excessive, physiological age will increase, and after recovery from stress, physiological age will increase. Age will reverse repair. This may provide a suitable entry point for future interventions targeting aging.
  “Whether we are middle-aged or still young, all we can do to promote healthy aging is the same: eat a healthy diet, do plenty of physical activity, and socialize with family, friends, and the community. Develop a sense of purpose and meaning, and avoid toxic stress and pollution.” Daniel Belsky emphasized to reporters, “The scientific community is now developing new drugs that can slow down physiological aging and extend a healthy life cycle. At the same time, we already know how to Changing our living environment to promote healthy aging means reducing pollution, ensuring safe and secure housing, and providing affordable and healthy food. We should also invest in these areas.”

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