This morning I found an article over at International Science Times suggesting that anxiety makes us age faster.
Apparently a recent research study has been conducted linking shorter portions of a certain piece of a chromosome called a telomere to higher levels of stress. In the case of this study, the stress was based off of people with phobic types of fears (being terrified of being in large crowds, enclosed spaces, etc).
People with more phobic fear had shorter telomeres, and generally shorter telomeres are linked to an increased risk of early death.
Of course, there are also several other possibilities that could be reached about the data, so the end result is that greater anxiety and stress may increase aging. What we don’t know, though, is which came first… the short telomere or the stress, so it is possible shorter telomeres put people at greater risk of developing anxiety and not the other way around.
In conclusion, there isn’t exactly a conclusion, but premature aging from stress and anxiety is definitely linked to shorter telomeres, in one way or another.
Anyway, the first thing this study made me think of was my mother, which absolutely conflicts these results for me. I believe stress probably contributes to premature aging, but despite whatever anxiety she’s had to deal with, my mom has always looked young and premature aging has definitely not appeared to be a problem for her. Maybe she is an exception to the rule, but I hope I managed to snag that gene.
For the full article, check out “Anxiety Makes You Age Faster” over at International Science Times.