beautiful woman, smilingRecent research shows that attractive people are less likely to get chronic illnesses including tinnitus, which researchers say shows that attractiveness is a sign of healthy genes and plays an important evolutionary role.

Attractiveness and Illness

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati and elsewhere looked at the medical records of 15,000 people that have been followed since they were age 10 and compared these to attractiveness ratings given by interviewers after a 90-minute interview. They found that attractive people were less likely to suffer many different illnesses.

Men who were rated as attractive were significantly less likely to suffer many different illnesses, including:

  • 13% reduction in the likelihood of high cholesterol
  • 20% lower risk of high blood pressure
  • 15% less likely to experience depression
  • 23% less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD
  • 21% less likely to stutter

Women who were rated attractive, on the other hand, had:

  • 21% lower risk of high blood pressure
  • 22% lower risk of diabetes
  • 12% less likely to be asthmatic
  • 17% less likely to experience depression
  • 18% less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD
  • 18% less likely to stutter
  • 13% less likely to have tinnitus

Attractive men and women were both more likely to be positive about their health and take fewer days off because of illness. They were diagnosed with fewer chronic diseases, psychological illnesses, and diseases overall.

Researchers interpreted these results as saying that attractiveness was an evolutionary signal for good genes.

Good Genes or Halo Effects?

However, there is significant potential for interpretations other than genetic factors for the reduced likelihood of illness in these individuals. For example, many of these risks are associated with conditions that may also impact attractiveness. For example, high blood pressure and diabetes are both associated with obesity, and obese individuals tend to be rated as lower in attractiveness in contemporary Western society, but haven’t always been (see the Venus of WIllendorf or Rubens’ art for example).

In addition, some of these illnesses may be secondary effects of attractiveness. Attractive people may be less likely to be diagnosed with depression because they are more likely to have a partner and be treated better on a daily basis than their less attractive peers.

And, finally, in many cases people who are attractive may just escape some of these diagnoses because of the “halo effect.” According to Dr. Viren Swami: “People think that “what is beautiful is good”, and we call this a halo effect. Attractive people are perceived as having all kinds of wonderful, positive qualities, and seen as being happier, more popular, more successful, and so on. We also treat them more positively than less attractive people. We give them more social space [e.g., more time and understanding to achieve a task] and we are more likely to help them.” For example, an attractive child who acts out in class might be more likely to be seen as precocious or charming, whereas an unattractive child is disruptive and sent to the counselor, then to the doctor for a diagnosis of ADHD.

TMJ Affects Attractiveness and Causes Tinnitus

Another example of how attractiveness and illness can intersect is TMJ. TMJ can cause tinnitus, and it can affect the way people look by creating asymmetry in the face. Uneven tooth wear, bone irregularity, displaced discs, overdeveloped muscles, and spinal imbalance can all be the result of TMJ, and all can cause a person to be rated as less attractive than their peers.

The good news is that with treatment, both tinnitus and the impact on your appearance can be remedied with TMJ treatment. To learn how TMJ treatment can help you, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver TMJ dentist at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.