Being lonely and unhappy ages you more than smoking

Having a vulnerable mental health, which is often determined by factors such as loneliness or unhappiness, ages more than smoking, according to researchers from the United States and China.

Molecular damage accumulates and contributes to the development of frailty and serious age-related diseases, but in some people these molecular processes are more intense than in others, a condition commonly known as “accelerated aging.”

The researchers, who have analyzed effects such as being alone, having a restless sleep or feeling unhappy, have published the conclusions of their work in the specialized journal Aging-US, and have corroborated the importance of any anti-aging therapy addressing both mental health as well as physical health.

Using blood tests and biometrics from nearly 12,000 Chinese adults, the study verified the aging process, and the researchers found that accelerated aging occurred in people with a history of stroke, liver and lung disease, or in smokers, but also in those with a vulnerable mental state.

In fact, the data revealed that feeling hopeless, unhappy and alone increases biological age more than smoking, and that there are other factors that also accelerate that aging process, such as being alone or living in a rural area – due in this case to the low availability of medical services.

According to Manuel Faria of Stanford University (United States), mental and psychosocial states are some of the strongest indicators of health outcomes and quality of life, “but have been largely ignored in modern medical care” .

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