The social class affects the ageing process, researchers found. According to their study, the caps on chromosomes, termed as telomeres, are much shorter in the poor, therefore they show signs of ageing faster than the higher income groups of similar age.
The rationale behind this gaping difference in the ageing impact on individuals is dependent on the cell division, during which time the telemores shorten. This loss of telemores causes ageing, which is why the telemores are thought to have an important role in the ageing process.
The link between telemores and ageing with respect to socio-economic status became evident when the researchers compared the telemore length of 1,552 women twins in Britain, categorized as per the National Statistics' Socio-Economic Classification and in the 18 and 75 age bracket.
The study found that, after considering factors like obesity, smoking and exercise, which can have a bearing on ageing, the telemores in women of the lower economic status was distinctly shorter. The difference was equated to an additional seven years of biological age. The researchers also suggest that stress could have an impact on ageing, especially levels of oxidative stress, which hastens the rate of cell division and causes signs of ageing to show up sooner.