Heavy stress may strongly shorten our life expectancy

In a new study, researchers found that life expectancy is influenced not only by the traditional lifestyle-related risk factors but also by factors related to a person’s quality of life, such as heavy stress.

The biggest causes of shortened life expectancy for 30-year-old men are smoking and diabetes.

Smoking takes 6.6 years and diabetes 6.5 years out of their life expectancy. Being under heavy stress shortens their life expectancy by 2.8 years.

The research was conducted by a team from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

The study was based on data collected from men and women aged 25 to 74 in the Finnish National FINRISK Study 1987-2007 through questionnaires and measurements.

The team calculated the effects of multiple risk factors, including lifestyle-related ones, to the life expectancy of men and women.

The study also revealed that a lack of exercise strongly reduced the life expectancy of 30-year-old men—by 2.4 years.

On the other hand, things such as the consumption of plenty of fruits and vegetables could increase life expectancy: eating fruit by 1.4 years and eating vegetables by 0.9 years.

The same factors impacted the life expectancy of both men and women. For 30-year-old women, e.g. smoking shortened the life expectancy by 5.5 years, diabetes by 5.3 years, and heavy stress by 2.3 years.

The effects on the life expectancy of older people were similar but smaller than in younger age groups.

The golden middle seemed to have the most positive effect of some factors related to lifestyle.

The experience of stress increased the life expectancy if the person felt the amount of stress they had was approximately the same as what other people typically experienced.

Having more or less stress than that, on the other hand, reduced their life expectancy.

The team says that the lifestyle choices that increase mortality, such as smoking, heavy alcohol use, unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise, are most common in the population groups whose social position is the weakest.

The life expectancy of the whole population could be improved strongly by helping men and people with a lower level of education, in particular, make better lifestyle choices.

The study is published in the BMJ Open.

Copyright © 2020 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.