Finding a comfortable place to live might be challenging, given the property market's steep rise. In contrast to house ownership, renting a home has now been linked to a quicker rate of biological aging, according to a recent study.
The latest study, led by researchers from the University of Adelaide and published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, assessed changes in biological age to understand better how these living conditions might have detrimental health implications.
It is commonly known that there are connections between housing conditions, such as mold and injury risks, and physical and mental health.
Different symptoms of mold poisoning is possible. Although it's more frequently associated with physical issues like breathing difficulties and fatigue, research indicates that it can also manifest itself in a psychological form. This includes difficulty concentrating, depressive symptoms, anxiety, brain fog, and sleeplessness.
The mix of genetics and lifestyle choices that make up biological age, also known as physiological age, indicates the harm done over time to our cells and tissues.
This implies that a person's chronological and biological age differ. Our DNA can undergo chemical changes known as epigenetic alterations that can be used to calculate biological age.
Increased biological age is connected to sedentary lifestyles, chronic illnesses, or poor physical condition and can thus be a valuable tool for forecasting the start of disease and mortality. Levels of DNA methylation naturally alter with age according to chronological age.
What did the researchers find?
To understand how various living situations may affect biological aging, the researchers combined social survey data with epigenetic information from blood samples from two databases, including the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and the (BHPS).
In addition to psychological components, including payment arrears, expenses, overcrowding, and shifting expectations/preferences, information was gathered on housing tenure, building style, central heating, location, and other factors.
Data on DNA methylation collected from the blood samples of 1,420 BHPS participants were used to examine health-related information. According to the data, privately renting a property is linked to faster biological aging, and this effect is nearly twice as significant as when employed.
The researchers also discovered that these effects were reversible, even when they considered variables that could have an impact, such as sex, nationality, education, nutrition, cumulative stress, and smoking.
In contrast, there was no difference in biological aging between people living in social housing, linked to cheaper expenses and long-term tenancy, and those who owned their homes.
Historical housing conditions, including recurrent house defaults and exposure to environmental issues and pollution, were also linked to a quicker biological aging process. According to the report, housing issues have a more considerable effect on natural aging than other social variables like unemployment, suggesting that health treatments also target housing issues.
"Our results suggest that challenging housing circumstances negatively affect health through faster biological aging. However, biological aging is reversible, highlighting the significant potential for housing policy changes to improve health."-University of Adelaide Research Team
However, because this study is observational, causality cannot be determined. Data on DNA methylation also has difficulties because it came exclusively from White European respondents.
- Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Are housing circumstances associated with faster epigenetic ageing?
- Mental Health Connecticut. Could Mold Be Affecting Your Mental Health?