Stress in Humans?
Stress is our body’s way of telling us that there is some expected danger to the immune system. It tells us that we must do something to save ourselves. Humans release adrenaline to combat a situation that they see as potentially harmful. This reaction is known as the “stress response”.
Adrenaline plays an important role in keeping the immune system perfect. However, as civilization progressed, we developed a completely new set of fears and worrying thoughts. This had a toll on the immune system. Robert Sapolsky, a neuroscientist from Stanford University, says that psychology can generate stress reactions. It can also trigger worrying thoughts and affect the immune system.
What are the Physical effects of Stress?
We all know that stress and worrying thoughts manifest into various immune system problems. These include depression, sleeping and eating disorders, burnout, fatigue and phobias. Physical effects of stress can help us identify and timely address the problem. Making a correct diagnosis is key to overcoming stress. Humans under stress are more vulnerable and less resistant to trivial diseases like a simple flu.
Beth Fontenot, MS, RD, LDN, reveals in a study about a direct connection between stress and the immune system. She is a qualified dietician with a BS degree from McNeese State University in Family and Consumer Sciences.
The study was conducted on 122 people, who were asked to fill out relevant questionnaires. These included questions regarding their daily routine. The participants were also involved in a stress test. Saliva samples were taken from each participant both before and after the test. The samples measured the inflammation of cytokines IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α (sTNFαRII).
Conclusion of the Stress Study
The lab analysis of the samples showed that stress was related to immunity. Participants involved in stressful situations had higher inflammation. This has a direct bearing on the immune system.
Effects of Elevated Stress on the Immune System?
Higher levels of inflammatory markers affect the immune system. These markers were generated to heal and protect the body from presumed danger. But when there is no physical harm, the markers start affecting the body and therefore, the immune system.
Certain studies have established a link between symptoms of stress like burnout, anxiety and depression. Life threatening diseases such as cancer and heart problems too are related to stress. The report titled “Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System” supports this. Suzanne C. Segerstrom and Gregory E. Miller authored the study.
A total of 18,941 people took part in the study. They were between the ages of 5 and 78.
The experiment reported the following:
- Stress leads to a poor immune system.
- Stressed elderly people and HIV positive participants were more susceptible to a weak immune system.
- Men were more vulnerable to stress and therefore had a poor immune system.
Avoid Stress for Better Health
It is important to reduce the level of mental stress in our life. Eating right, working out, manageable work load and interaction with positive people should be a priority.
Stress Test Online
Do you want to know if you are suffering higher stress than normal? Then you can do our online stress test with a simple click.