Anxiety Speeds Aging
Women who have chronic anxiety or phobias experience premature aging at a greater rate than their more relaxed counterparts, according to a new study.
Researchers at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that women with the most severe anxiety had shorter telomeres. These substances, found at the end of each chromosome, prevent deterioration of chromosomes.
Telomere shortening, which isn’t reversible, has been linked as well to cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and dementia.
The difference in physical age between those who were most anxious or phobic, and those who weren’t, was six years, the researchers said. Many of the most anxious women also had bad health habits, like smoking, being overweight, and not exercising enough.
The study was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.