If you want to ward off early ageing and disease, you should reduce your job stress, new research has found.
Finnish researchers have found job stress damages the DNA in our cells, which makes us age more quickly.
The research showed people with greater job stress have shorter telomeres — the protective caps on the end of chromosomes. Telomeres shorten with age, oxidation and chemical insults.
When telomeres are shortened too much, the cells either die or enter a phase called senescence where they can't reproduce any more, which makes us more prone to deterioration and disease associated with ageing.
Kirsi Ahola, from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, led the study that looked at blood cells called leukocytes, which are important for immunity. She found people who had severe exhaustion from job stress had much shorter leukocyte telomeres than people who were not exhausted.
Shorter telomere length has been linked with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Parkinson's disease.
“I think these results should be used when considering health hazards and work place legislation,” Ms Ahola told NBC News. “Chronic work stress can become a health risk and should be prevented.”
She added individuals deal with stress differently, so some people could be more affected by certain workplace conditions than others.
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