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Here's How Being Left Handed May Affect Your Overall Health

For most people, it’s the right hand that’s the dominant one, and according to World Atlas, just 10 percent of the world’s population is left-handed. Men are 23 percent more likely to be left-handed than women, but regardless, if you are left-handed we can agree that you are among the special few. But it's also interesting to know there are certain ways your dominant hand can affect your overall health.

Determining whether you will be left or right-handed reportedly happens early on in fetal development, but Health notes that the outcome is not always determined by genetics. In fact, only 25 percent of the time genetics are responsible for this decision, and just because your parents are left-handed, does not mean this trait will be passed on to you. Other possible causes of left-handedness include abnormally high stress-levels during pregnancy, and according to Fox News, babies born with lower weights, or to older mothers, are more likely to be left-handed.

Although the exact reason why someone becomes left-handed may be unknown, what scientists do know is that people who are left-handed may think differently, this according to a 2009 Stanford University study. According to Health, the study asked right-handed and left-handed individuals to look at two columns of abstract illustrations and then pick which side seemed to have more good qualities, for example, which column represented illustrations that were “more intelligent, happy, honest, and attractive.” It was found that lefties thought the left-hand columns represented this, while righties felt the opposite.

Another interesting difference is that left-handed people seem to be better at sports. According to Health, in sports like boxing, tennis, and pitching baseballs, left-handed people have an advantage. Plus, lefties tend to be more artistic and are more likely to pursue careers in something creative, Everyday Health reports.

But there may also be health risks associated with left-handedness, and according to Fox News, certain disorders are more prevalent in people who are left-handed. Studies have looked at these developmental and psychiatric disorders, which include dyslexia, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, all of which are believed to be more common in left-handed individuals. But on the other end of the scale, a study published in Laterality found that lefties could be at a lower risk for conditions like arthritis and ulcers, Everyday Health reports.

Lastly, despite the small population of left-handed individuals in the world, there is a large percentage of truly great people who are lefties — take Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama as examples. Plus, according to Business Insider, lefties are more likely to think outside the box, and a 2013 published in A Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology also revealed that left-handed individuals had more mental flexibility.

[Image via iStock/Getty]

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