From sweating over that big promotion to worrying about the kids, over time, anxiety can interfere with how you approach daily tasks. While you may not have panic attacks and other dangerous signs of acute stress disorder, if your anxiety goes unresolved, you may begin to notice something equally disturbing. According to new research, wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of aging may be the result of anxiety.
Science Daily reports that in a recent study, researchers found that phobic anxiety – a common form of anxiety – may be related to shorter telomeres in women who are middle-aged or older. Telomeres linger at the end of chromosomes and contain vital proteins that can help protect against aging.
“Many people wonder about whether – and how – stress can make us age faster,” said study author Olivia Okereke, MD. “So, this study is notable for showing a connection between a common form of psychological stress – phobic anxiety – and a plausible mechanism for premature aging.”
Over 5,000 women participated in the study, which was conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Researchers analyzed blood samples from the women, who were between the ages of 42 and 69, and determined that high levels of phobic anxiety corresponded with short telomeres.
“This type of study design cannot prove cause-and-effect or which problem came first – the anxiety or shorter telomeres,” explained Okereke.
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