Taking care of your physical health is the foundation of a long life. However, mental health also affects life expectancy. New research shows that mental illness can speed up aging. According to MedikForum, people with mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety can be biologically two years older than their actual chronological age.
This can happen because mental health is related to the rate at which the body ages.
The researchers conducted a study looking for specific markers associated with aging and linking them to a history of mental illness. Previous research has linked changes in the body’s metabolites – the products of metabolism – to the aging process, with some types decreasing as people get older.
“The results showed that people with a history of mental illness had an older biological age than their actual age. Differences between biological and chronological age were largest in people with bipolar disorder and smallest in people with anxiety disorder,” family doctor Tatyana Zakharova explained specifically for the portal.
Scientists have observed the largest difference between biological age and actual age in people with bipolar disorder, averaging about two years.
“For depression, the corresponding difference was about one year, and for anxiety disorder it was 0.7 years. The conclusion that these differences were greatest in people with bipolar disorder was observed for other indicators of biological aging, for example, when looking at frailty,” the expert added.
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