Stress and Aging

We all know stress is bad for us. But, how bad is it really? And, what can we do about it?

In a 2020 research paper, the authors found that “[p]eople exposed to chronic stress age rapidly. The telomeres in their cells of all types shorten faster. Inflammation is another important feature of stress that, along with aging, accounts for the phenomenon of inflammaging. In addition to aging itself, inflammaging can contribute to the development of several pathologies, including atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, and others” (Yegorov, et al. 2020).

Some of the common sources of stress for older adults include:

  • Changes in lifestyle and finances after retirement
  • Caregiving for family
  • Death of relatives and close friends
  • Changes in physical abilities
  • Chronic illness
  • Worries about not being able to live independently

Some of the common signs and symptoms of excessive stress include:

  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Difficulty with concentrating
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Physical discomforts like stomachaches and headaches

How can you better manage stress?

  • First, talk to your doctor. Make sure there are no underlying causes of the symptoms.
  • Engage in self-care. Eat nutritious foods, reduce alcohol intake, and get regular exercise.
  • Talk about it. Share your feelings with loved ones.
  • Relaxation techniques. Medication and deep breathing are two great ways to relax.

Eaton offers a wide variety of programs to help you live your best life! Activities at Eaton such as gardening, massage, happy hour, yoga and more can help reduce your stress levels. Contact us today to learn more about living in our community and reducing your stress.

Reference          

Yegorov, Yegor E et al. “The Link between Chronic Stress and Accelerated Aging.” Biomedicines vol. 8,7 198. 7 Jul. 2020, doi:10.3390/biomedicines8070198

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