Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How do they figure out how old you are?

English: 10. Measure length at side of figure ...
English: 10. Measure length at side of figure from waist to below buttocks plus 2 inches. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You will need this picture as a reference
for information posted later on this page. I suppose
doctors know this already. :D
Karen Austin over at The Generation Above Me published an educational article regarding all those tests they can do on us to determine if we are going to live forever (or longer). It was called Bio-Markers for Aging. I perked up right away when I saw it because, as you know, I am curious. My outward age and the age I am inside my head are NOT connected in any way so I sometimes need a reality check.

The list you see here are suggested tests that people keeping statistics or doctors tracking our decrepit bodies for signs of rot can use. I am sure a professional has a more scientific way of phrasing it but since I am writing for lay people I want to keep it simple. Here was the list Austin referred to from "the Dunedin Birth Cohort study  by The Guardian."
  1. HbA1c
  2. Cardiorespiratory fitness
  3. Waist:Hip Ratio
  4. FEV1/FVC
  5. FEV1
  6. Mean arterial pressure
  7. BMI
  8. Leukocyte telemore length
  9. Creatinine clearance
  10. Urea Nitrogen
  11. Lipoprotein(a)
  12. Triglycerides
  13. Gum Health
  14. Total cholesterol 
  15. White blood cell count
  16. hsCRP
  17. HDL cholesterol
  18. ApoB100/ApoA1
I looked at this list and thought there must be some mistake. Surely, someone like me should know what these tests are.  Of the 18 I only recognized 4. I looked up Leukocyte telemore length and did not understand one bit of the information. I could understand why Austin talked about "being in over her head." I know I was.

At a glance I was seeing the lab bill from hell. But, being the nitwit I am, I could only giggle. I could picture how the conversation was going to be. My doctor, like me, has a very good sense of humor. The third item on the list, Waist:Hip Ratio, had me picturing a lot of poking around my midsection.
Doctor: Barbara, let me check to see where your waist is these days (poking at my middle). Is it moving up or is it moving down and is it bigger than the rest of you.
Barbara: (Looking down.) My waist? Why do you want to know where and how big my waist is?
Doctor: Well, it seems the Federal government is very interested in your waist? (That may not be true but doctors do use the Federal government as an excuse for all sorts of stuff.)
Barbara: Huh. Who knew?!? What do they call that test?
Doctor: Waist:Hip Ratio. We call it the "Where and How Big" is it test.
Barbara: Well good luck. When you find my waist, let me know. I haven't seen it since 1990. But I am sure it is down there somewhere.
The "gum" health seemed pretty straight forward and I did recognize "creatinine clearance".  Then there was the "cardiorespiratory fitness"  or the huff and puff test.

I think my gums are in pretty good shape but there was some questions about that when I visited the dentists. He wanted to know if I thought I would live long enough to warrant replacing fillings. That did make me wonder. Up until then I did not feel like a horse being checked for its age when a dentist looked in there. Now I do.

As for the creatinine clearance, we all know about pee and bodily functions. The word clearance is pretty self explanatory I think. I am glad that the medical profession came up with a more lady-like name for peeing a lot. That in a of itself is a good thing. On the other hand I did not know that peeing a lot was part of my age related problems. I have never been perfect in that regard...oh I suppose that is TMI (FYI: Too Much Information).

If cardiorespiratory fitness is a marker, I am in such deep #@#$%! Without going into the whole subject, let it be said that my husband walks fast and if he decided to put me to the test, I will arrive at his walking destination sometime the next day. I try but there you have it! On the up side, I am no worse than I have ever been. I huffed and puffed when I was 6!

Anyway, I just thought you would need to think about what is going on with your age. I am sure your doctor would order all these tests. Austin says in her article that they are not that bad:
"Simply put, biomarkers need to be simple and inexpensive to use. They should cause little or no pain and stress. And they must measure aging accurately."
Cheap, simple and painless work for me.

Don't worry, you are just fine. I, on the other hand, may not be doing so good! Sigh!


I think you will find the Article written by Karen Austin over at The Age Above Me informative. If you are interested, she had some good reference material. I looked them over.


  1. Replies
    1. You just have to is so much better than crying!

  2. I can see my old method of determining age is inadequate. Subtracting birth date from the current calendar date constantly yields a higher remainder --which doesn't account for mileage.

    1. Oh my goodness, that is so mathematical and, well, confusing. My birthday is not until November so I am never sure whether to subtract last year or add next year. As for mileage, I have gotten a lot of distance out of this body.

  3. Sounds you're a bit like me -- good gums, need to get a little more exercise.

    1. Yes, that does sum it up very nicely. Thank you Tom.

  4. I go to the doc about once every 7 - 10 years for my "annual" physical. He keeps asking me how it is that I am getting younger. Healthier every year -- still NO gray hair, NO drying skin and the list goes on. But then I am a health coach and it is one of the things I blog about -- so better practice what I preach. So, you CAN get younger - honest!

    1. Oh my are good! I imagine that your attitude makes all the difference.


Leave your thoughts...I am interested.

Featured Post

Listening to the News...sigh

 It turns out that, if you are to be able to communicate, you need to PAY ATTENTION. There are those of us that continue to ignore events an...