Or just stressed and pulling your hair out?
A new study from UC San Francisco is the first to show that while the impact of life’s stressors accumulate overtime and accelerate cellular aging, these negative effects may be reduced by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and sleeping well.
“The study participants who exercised, slept well and ate well had less telomere (the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes that affect how quickly cells age) shortening than the ones who didn’t maintain healthy lifestyles, even when they had similar levels of stress,” said lead author Eli Puterman, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at UCSF. “It’s very important that we promote healthy living, especially under circumstances of typical experiences of life stressors like death, caregiving and job loss.”
Shorter telomeres have become associated with a broad range of aging-related diseases, including stroke, vascular dementia, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis diabetes, and many forms of cancer.
“This is the first study that supports the idea, at least observationally, that stressful events can accelerate immune cell aging in adults, even in the short period of one year. Exciting, though, is that these results further suggest that keeping active, and eating and sleeping well during periods of high stress are particularly important to attenuate the accelerated aging of our immune cells,” said Puterman.
Obesity is a global health concern. In the US, more than 69% of adults aged 20 years or over are overweight or obese. Similar numbers are found in the UK, where around 62% of individuals aged 16 or over are overweight or obese.
It is well known that being overweight can increase the risk of potentially serious health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Past research has also shown that overweight and obesity can increase the risk of cancer.
Last year an eight analysis was completed. Results of the analysis revealed that 166,955 participants developed one of the 22 cancers during the 7.5-year follow-up. The researchers found that BMI (Body Mass Index) was linked to the development of 17 out of these 22 cancers, and the link was particularly strong for 10 of these cancers.
Every 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with a higher risk of the following cancers:
Womb/Uterine (62% increased risk)
Gallbladder (31% increased risk)
Kidney (25% increased risk)
Liver (19% increased risk)
Cervical (10% increased risk)
Colon (10% increased risk)
Ovarian (9% increased risk)
Thyroid (9% increased risk)
Leukemia (9% increased risk)
Breast (5% increased risk)
A 1 kg/m2 increase in average BMI (the equivalent to 8-10 pounds per adult) across the country’s population – which occurs around every 12 years based on current trends – may cause an additional 3,790 cases of the 10 cancers every year.
I was really active when I was young. When I married my wife 15 years ago I weighed 175 lbs – I got pregnant with my wife a couple of years later, but I never gave birth to a 9 pounder! I avoided pictures and the scale for almost 7 years. I finally faced the truth – I had reached 228 lbs. Then, REALITY HIT ME IN THE FACE – my Dad unexpectedly passed away at the age of 58, the result of pulmonary disease! He was followed shortly after by a good friend who was just 32…heart attack!
I needed a plan – My plan was to do what I knew best – try to eat a little less and exercise like crazy! I worked out INTENSELY 2 hours daily, 6 days a week. I managed to drop 25 lbs in 15 months, followed by an 8 month plateau (not impressive). That is when my life was saved! I began a health program that allowed me to lose 20 lbs in about a month!!! Even better, I stopped snoring, eliminated acid reflux, as well as chronic headaches and joint pain!
“I started just before Christmas 2012 because a friend shared his success story with me. By April I was approaching my target weight. Now I’m at about the year mark stage of pursuing optimal health. I am about 50 pounds down from my heaviest. My health as measured by all the blood and regular health measures is better than it was 15 years ago. And I addressed at least one health issue I’ve been ignoring for years just because I now watch closely the signals my body is giving and don’t ignore them as I used to do.