How Stress Leads To Faster Aging
Unfortunately, stress happens to everyone at some point in their lives. Stress and ageing are both normal aspects of life. Stressful conditions may not have as much of an impact on our bodies and minds when we’re young and robust. Yet, as we age, the body’s natural defences progressively start to deteriorate, making it harder to handle stress and worry.
One may argue that growing older itself can be stressful: dealing with a loved one’s passing, preparing for possible reductions in health and independence, and long-term unemployment can all be especially confusing. Fortunately, there are a number of methods you (or an elderly loved one) can manage stress and make the most of senior living. Continue reading to find out more about how stress affects ageing and how to control stress to age gracefully.
What Takes Place in the Body Under Stress?
Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released by our body when we are physically or emotionally upset. These stress hormones may be useful in supplying quick bursts of energy and attention to help us respond effectively to the current stressful situation.
But over time, sustained stress can produce an excess of stress hormones, which can cause dangerous bodily imbalances. Increased levels of stress hormones have been associated with memory loss, impaired immune systems, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Furthermore, when adrenaline is constantly pounding, blood vessels may tighten, impairing vision and hearing.
The capacity of the brain to control the amounts of stress hormones declines with age. This causes both hormonal imbalances and higher stress levels in older persons in addition to contributing to hormonal abnormalities. Chronic stress increases a person’s propensity to lead an unhealthy lifestyle, which leads to more health issues. Putting it another way, stress speeds up ageing and ageing speeds up stress.
Stress has a biological impact on the body as well. Over time, telomeres, which serve as protective “caps” on the ends of DNA chromosomes, will inevitably wear down. But, scientists have discovered that when the body is under stress, the process might quicken. Telomeres that are too short no longer provide sufficient protection for the cells. Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer have all been associated with shortened telomeres.
Stress does more than only make one feel more mature. It actually has the potential to hasten ageing. Stress can lengthen the lifespan of individual immune system cells, according to a study that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The chromosomal caps known as telomeres were the subject of the study. Every time a cell divides, its telomeres get a little shorter and a little bit more time passes. The cell can no longer divide or replenish itself when the telomere is too short. One of the main causes of ageing and the reason why people can’t live forever is this process.
Signs of Stress
It can be challenging to relate specific physical conditions to signs of stress in some cases. You may grow accustomed to experiencing the symptoms and believe that they are normal if your body is under constant stress. It’s a little simpler to recognise they are stress symptoms and not something else if you are aware of the changes to watch for. Even then, you might need a friend or relative to point them out to you.
- Shifts in dietary patterns
- Mood swings, including those caused by overactivity, melancholy,
- Irritability, or anxiety
- Trouble with concentration or short-term memory
- Exceptionally poor judgement
- Social exclusion
- Disregarding the need for personal hygiene
- Additional headaches or general aches and pains
- Having frequent illness
- Gaining or losing weight
- Excessive tiredness or difficulty sleeping
As you can see, a lot of these symptoms could be mistakenly attributed to other issues. Many of these are also depressive symptoms. When you get to the bottom of the issue, though, it can just be tension that is out of control.
Guidelines for Handling Stress
The good news is that managing your stress can enhance your general health, and vice versa: enhancing your health can manage your stress.
Uncertain about where to begin? Check out some of our best advice on reducing stress:
- Keep in touch with your loved ones.
- A fulfilling social life can improve general health, quality of life, and self-esteem.
- In actuality, a number of physical and mental health issues are associated with loneliness and isolation.
- Continue to be active. Even a brief yoga or walking exercise of 30 minutes might be calming.
- Keep your mind active with mentally challenging hobbies like reading, solving puzzles, and playing games with friends and family.
- Obtain a lot of restful sleep.
- To improve your physical health and cognitive function, eat a diet that is balanced.
- Avoid situations that are too stressful.
When it comes to managing chronic stress, some people may also benefit from receiving professional counselling or even prescription medicine. To get further advice on how to enhance your health, it never hurts to speak with your doctor or a mental health expert.