Too much of this hormone in the blood could predict unhealthy aging

A hormone found in the blood that’s commonly linked to heart disease also might signal when someone is more likely to grow weaker or lose their ability to balance before they’re 70. People in their early 60s with higher-than-normal levels of brain natriuretic peptide, or BNP, walked slower and were less able to raise themselves from a chair and balance on one leg up to nine years later, according to a study by British researchers published in January in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. While high levels of the peptide are associated with greater risk for heart attacks and other diseases, the new study indicates it could be more than just a warning sign of heart disease. “We were surprised that BNP turned out to be the best predictor of our simple measures of aging,” said Yoav Ben-Shlomo, who helped author the study for the Medical Research Council Unit for Lifelong Health and Aging at University College London. BNP is primarily produced in the heart’s left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber. It’s produced when the heart is working too hard to pump blood. Read more here >>>

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