What Are The Health Risk of Being Left Handed?

There are certain health risks associated with left handed people, i.e. certain diseases are more common among left handed people than right handed people. Left handed people are more prone to suffer from dyslexia, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); all of these disorders are due to defect in brain development. Recent researches suggest that handedness (right or left) is only partly due to genetical reason. This is clear from the fact that identical twins (who share 100% of same genes) may not have same dominant hand. Environmental factors may play a role in becoming left handed or right handed.

Approximately 10% of people are left handed and approximately 1% has no dominant hand (mixed handed) and use both hands with equal ease and the remaining are right handed. Left handed people are subjected to stigma and curiosity even these days in many cultures. Using left hand (such as offering something to somebody with left hand) is considered taboo or uncultured in many cultures.

Some important environmental factors that may play important role in making a person left handed include stress, especially stress in mother’s womb. Low birth weight babies, babies of older age mothers also have higher risk of becoming left handed. High stress during pregnancy also contributes to this.

Some statistics will clarify the higher risk of certain disorders in lefties. For example, 10% of people are left handed, but approximately 20% of schizophrenia patients are left handed. This indicates that lefties have double the risk of becoming schizophrenic. This type of correlation is also seen for dyslexia and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The reason for higher risk of certain psychiatric disorders is not clear. For right handed people the brain’s left side is dominant. Till now, it was believed that in left handed people the brain’s right side is dominant, but recent findings show that approximately 70% of left handed people have right side dominance for their key functions and the remaining 30% have mixed dominance.

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