The pace of aging varies to some degree between individuals, largely a result of differences in lifestyle and choice. Genetics only begins to significantly influence the outcome at a very late age, and by that time it becomes a question of resilience to high levels of molecular damage. Between 60 and 80, the span of time in which age-related diseases become very prevalent given today’s state of medical science, it is the case that very few people can claim genetics to have a significant contribution to their present state of health.
Of the unifying mechanisms one can invoke to explain links between lifestyle and pace of aging, chronic inflammation and raised blood pressure are two of the obvious choices. These two contribute in some way to all of the common age-related conditions, directly or indirectly. So when faced with an epidemiological study that shows a broad correlation between existing osteoporosis and risk of later dementia, chronic inflammation is the obvious candidate. There is plenty of evidence for it to contribute to both disruption of bone maintenance and the progression of neurodegeneration, and lifestyle choices such as exercise and weight gain both strongly influence the state of chronic inflammation in later life.
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