HT Ludhiana Live

Phobic anxiety makes you age faster

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You really can worry yourself to death, a new study suggests. Researcher­s who analysed blood samples taken from 5,243 women found those who had a high phobic anxiety — defined as a fear of enclosed spaces, heights, crowds or going outside, among other symptoms — level had significan­tly shorter telomeres.

Telomeres are DNA sequences found on the tips of chromosome­s that keep DNA from unraveling. Shortened or damaged telomeres limit the number of times a cell can divide. Shorter telomeres are considered a sign of accelerate­d aging.

The difference in telomere lengths between the high anxiety and low anxiety groups was the equivalent of six years of premature aging. In addition, women in the highest phobic category were generally less healthy than those in the lowest — they were more likely to have smoked, have a higher body mass index and to be less physically active.

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