Job Stress Linked With Shorter Telomeres, Which Could Speed Up Aging: Study

07/27/2012 05:49 pm ET

If you always secretly thought your stressful job was taking years off your life -- you might actually be right.

A new study in the journal PLoS ONE shows the impact job stress has on certain sections of our DNA called telomeres, which have been linked in research with longevity.

Finnish scientists found that people affected by the highest levels of job stress were more likely to have short telomeres, NBC News reported.

According to NBC News:

Telomeres become shorter with age, oxidation and chemical insults. Often, when telomeres reach a critically short length, the cell dies in a process called apoptosis. Some cells don’t die. They become what scientists call "senescent." They sputter along, making genetic errors and causing damage.

The PLoS ONE Blog reported that shortened telomeres are linked with aging and possibly even cancer.

The study included 2,911 people between ages 30 and 64, who were surveyed on their exhaustion due to work. The researchers also measured the length of their leukocyte telomeres.

The authors wrote in the study: "These data suggest that work-related exhaustion is related to the acceleration of the rate of biological aging. This hypothesis awaits confirmation in a prospective study measuring changes in relative telomere length over time."

Recently, another study in the journal PLoS ONE showed that stress from phobic anxieties -- like being afraid of spiders, social situations, or the like -- is linked with shortened telomeres.

For more factors that could make you age faster, click through the slideshow below:

7 Factors That Make People Age Faster

CONVERSATIONS