Chronic Inflammation Impacts Healthy Aging


In the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Tasnime N. Akbaraly, PhD, of France’s Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale and colleagues report that high levels of interleukin-6, which are elevated during chronic inflammation, are associated with a reduction in successful aging, which they define as the absence of chronic diseases and disability coupled with optimal physical, cognitive, cardiovascular, and respiratory functioning.

The study analyzed data from 3,044 middle-aged participants in the Whitehall II study, which examined 10,308 British civil servants every five years beginning in 1985. Subjects were categorized as having undergone successful aging, cardiovascular disease, non-cardiovascular death, or normal aging over a 10-year follow up beginning in 1997-1999.

Elevated levels of interleukin-6 reduced the odds of experiencing successful aging by 47%, elevated the risk of undergoing cardiovascular events by 64%, and more than doubled the risk of non-cardiovascular death in comparison with subjects whose levels were lower.


CMAJ September 16, 2013 First published September 16, 2013, doi:10.1503/cmaj.122072

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