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What are the effects of stress on ageing?

What are the effects of stress on ageing?
22nd February 2012

Stress isn't good for a person's health and is associated with many conditions, such as cardiac complications, stroke and dementia.

However, it could also be making people age much faster than normal, according to a new study published in Biological Psychiatry this week.

Researchers claim that stress shortens telomere length - the caps on the end of chromosomes that are indicators of ageing.

While telomere length reduces over time, stress accelerates this process, as the caps are highly sensitive to anxiety and depression.

Dr John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented: "The link between stress and telomere shortening is growing stronger.

"The current findings suggest that cortisol levels may be a contributor to this process, but it is not yet clear whether telomere length has significance beyond that of a biomarker."

However, further studies are needed to discover whether normalising telomere length can be a viable treatment for conditions effecting mental health.

Read about support and personalised care at Barchester care homes for anyone with mental health concerns.