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Beware, overconfidence can endanger your health

Beware, overconfidence can endanger your health

Elderly people who underestimate their health condition go to the doctor less often. But this can have serious consequences for their health. For example, in the case when serious diseases are detected when it is already too late.

In contrast, people who think they are sicker than they really are are more likely to go to the doctor. This is what a new study by Sonja Spicer from the Institute for Demography at the University of Vienna and Mujahid Shaik from the Herti School in Berlin revealed, based on data from over 80,000 Europeans aged 50 and over.

The results were published in the Journal of the Economics of Agin. It is known that self-confidence greatly influences our behavior. People who overestimate their skills earn more, invest their money differently, and are more likely to be leaders.

But in the meantime, they take more risks, suffer more accidents, and lead a less responsible life in relation to their health, drinking more alcohol, eating in a less healthy way, and sleeping too little.

The way people perceive their health condition can also have consequences for their decisions, such as whether or not to go to the doctor. In Spicer and Shaik's study, it was found that people who underestimate their health visit the doctor 17 percent less than those who accurately assess their health, which is essential for preventative care such as examinations.

Similar results were found for visits to the dentist. But the perception on a person's health, has no impact on the number and duration of hospital stay. Apparently the latter is definite and often requires a doctor’s referral.

The study authors also found that people who underestimate their health are forced to go to the doctor 21 percent more often. On the one hand, there is the disadvantage that these additional visits can incur unnecessary costs, which is important given the aging population and high public health expenditures.

Data were collected as part of the SHARE study (Europe Health, Aging and Retirement Survey) during the years 2006-2013. First, participants were asked how they assessed their health, for example, if they had trouble getting up from the chair after sitting for a long time.

Më pas, pjesëmarrësit duhej të ngriheshin nga një karrige gjatë një testi. Në këtë mënyrë mund të përcaktohet nëse dikush e mbivlerëson, nënvlerëson ose vlerëson me saktësi shëndetin e vet. Gjithashtu, studiuesit morën parasysh gjykimet e gabuara në lidhje me kujtesën dhe lëvizshmërinë.

Në përgjithësi, shumica e pjesëmarrësve në anketë e vlerësojnë saktë gjendjen e tyre shëndetësore (79 për qind), 11 për qind mbivlerësojnë dhe 10 për qind nënvlerësojnë shëndetin e tyre. Me studimin e tyre të ri, studiuesit u bazuan në një studim të mëparshëm që tregoi se perceptimi i shëndetit ndryshon shumë në varësi të moshës, kombësisë dhe arsimit. Sa më të mëdhenj në moshë të jenë njerëzit, aq më shpesh e mbivlerësojnë shëndetin e tyre. Studiuesit zbuluan edhe dallime të mëdha rajonale.

The analysis found that people in Southern Europe tend to overestimate their health, while those in Central and Eastern Europe often underestimate their health. Also, educated people are more likely to accurately assess their health. Researchers' appeal: Focus more on your health education. The healthier we stand now can affect how healthy we can really be in the long run.

Originally published on Bota.al