How Does Telomere Length Link to Cardiovascular Disease?
Telomeres can tell Dr. Avi Ishaaya how your cells are aging. You want these telomeres to be strong and healthy, so they can effectively fight off any mutations or degeneration. Your cells are made of shelterin, proteins that work to prevent your DNA sequence from becoming damaged. While telomere shortening is normal as you age, it can accelerate because of certain medical conditions or disorders.
At Dr. Avi Ishaaya Centers, our board-certified physician, Dr. Ishaaya, uses telomere testing to analyze any chromosomal changes that can cause different health problems and a decreased life expectancy. Shorter telomeres can also show him when you’re more susceptible to developing health conditions, including cardiovascular disease. During a consultation at his Los Angeles, CA office, he can conduct this important testing.
What are telomeres?
Telomeres are responsible for three main things in your body, including:
Arranging all of your 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell
Making sure that there is correct replication of chromosomes when your cells divide
Forming a cap at the ends of all chromosomes
Ultimately, every cell that divides shortens. Since the ends are protected by telomeres, the only part of the chromosomes that loses length is the end of the telomere, while your DNA will be left intact. Without these telomeres, we could lose important parts of our chromosomes every time that our DNA replicates.
Why do telomeres shorten?
Telomere shortening is normal with age but can also occur because of lifestyle choices, including smoking, living a sedentary life, or being overweight or obese. When your telomeres shorten, this tells your cells to regenerate less healthy ones. It also causes them to produce mutations that can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease. You can explain a variety of symptoms when you’re experiencing telomere shortening. This is why telomere testing is so important for all of our patients in Los Angeles, CA. Telomere length testing helps Dr. Ishaaya both diagnose and treat certain diseases or disorders caused by shortened telomeres.
Telomere shortening and cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular disease is the name of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. They include:
Cerebrovascular disease (stroke)
Coronary heart disease (heart attack)
Congenital heart disease
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Peripheral vascular disease
Rheumatic heart disease
Short telomeres will lead to cell dysfunction, which can contribute to atherogenesis and reduce repair and the ability to regenerate new healthy cells in your cardiovascular system. Increased stress, inflammation in the body, smoking, and high blood pressure can all cause accelerated telomere shortening in your body.
How is telomere testing done?
A telomere test is conducted with a blood or cheek swab test annually. This allows Dr. Ishaaya to compare your results from year to year and to re-examine lifestyle changes to see if they’re helping your health. This also gives him a baseline to make professional treatment suggestions.
How telomere testing improves your health
Telomere testing allows Dr. Avi Ishaaya to look closely at each of his patient’s DNA to learn how they are aging. This also helps him determine the likelihood that someone will develop cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other diseases. At our Los Angeles, CA office, we measure your telomere length and help you to slow down telomere shortening. To learn more about telomere testing and how to improve your health, call Dr. Avi Ishaaya Centers to schedule a consultation to learn more.