A new study has found that, while stress can affect both health and how quickly we age, but living a healthier lifestyle can help to counteract those effects.
According to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, stress and age affect telomere caps, a combination of DNA and proteins that “cap” chromosomes. As we grow older, these telomeres shorten, and instances of stress can cause the same effect. However, plenty of exercise, rest and a healthy diet can stop this process from occurring.
Just under 240 post-menopausal women participated in the study, which covered a 12-month period. The researchers took blood samples to measure telomere levels at the beginning and end of the 12 months, while having the women report on the stressful situations they encountered during that time. Universally, the participants who engaged in less healthy behavior had a greater decline in telomere length than those who maintained active lifestyles and healthy diets.
“The study participants who exercised, slept well and ate well had less telomere shortening than the ones who didn’t maintain healthy lifestyles, even when they had similar levels of stress,” said the study’s lead author Eli Puterman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at UCSF. “It’s very important that we promote healthy living, especially under circumstances of typical experiences of life stressors like death, caregiving and job
Beyond causing aging of the skin, telomere shortening is also linked to strokes, vascular dementia, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes and many forms of cancer.
Those looking to slow the effects of aging should consider changing their lifestyle to a healthier one but also in non-invasive cosmetic procedures that can eliminate wrinkles, stress-lines and other indicators of age. For more information on these procedures, contact Maryland Plastic Surgery for the operations we can perform quickly and with minimal recovery time.