Stress and sick
The relationship between stress and sick or illness is complicated (1).
Stress affects everyone, whether it is young or old, rich or poor. Life is full of stress, it’s always with us, we just need to avoid or control it.
The effects of stress from person to person are different, a stress that causes an illness in a person may not cause illness in other people.
It found that the immune systems of people who are older or already sick are more chance to get stress-related changes (2).
Much evidence says that stress makes you sick, by suppressing the immune system (3).
Stress sickness symptoms
NOTE: As the stress buildup, this worse keep happening, but the symptoms go away on their own when the stress starts to subside.
Stress can cause a number of symptoms of illness which include:
- aches and pains
- trouble in sleeping or exhaust
- rapid heartbeat
- high blood pressure
- low libido
- weak immune system
- jaw clenching
- dizziness or shaking
- irritable or anger
Factors that influenced the susceptibility to stress are genetics, coping style, type of personality, and social support.
How does stress make you sick?
Stress duration plays a vital role in the sick, some stress is good to drive fight-or-flight response.
But chronic stress has a significant effect on immunity, It raises catecholamine and suppressor T cell levels, which leads weak immune system.
Suppress or weak immune system makes you sick (4).
Unless the chronic stress is released it suppresses the body’s immune system which ultimately manifests as illness.
The physical effect of stress on the body
Stress leads to many health issues which include:
Stress can affect appetite, and adversely affects the normal function of the GI gastrointestinal tract (5).
Stress also increases the response of the gastrointestinal system to inflammation (6).
It may reactivate previous inflammation and speed up the inflammation process by secretion of mediators such as substances.
It can also affect a wide range of gastrointestinal symptoms such as:
People under high stress are more likely to catch a cold when exposed to a virus than people under mild stress (7).
During research were four dimensions of stress included – stressful life events, negative affect, positive affect, and perceived stress.
The result shows that all four aspects of stress were related to the occurrence of the common cold (8).
Dr. Cohen and their colleagues were surprised when they find increased stress hormones had not seen the relationship between stress and colds.
During the research, results showed that patients develop a high fever when they are exposed to emotional events (9).
Stress-induced fever is an actual, identifiable condition called “Psychogenic fever.” (10).
Psychogenic fever is also observed in patients who were traumatic experiences in their early lives and with other disorders such as anxiety, stress, etc (11).
Stress effects during pregnancy
Research and many studies indicate that stress can affect both mother and baby’s health (12).
Stress can affect pregnant women in many ways creating which include:
- Difficulty in conceiving
- causing premature birth
- low birth weight
- leads anxiety
It found that children with more psychosocial exposures during pregnancy and early life had higher hair cortisol concentration (HCC) levels (13).
Stress is also involved in the development of chronic stress-associated depression (a mood disorder) (14)
Long-term or chronic stress can be harmful on its own, but they also contribute to depression (15).
Studies evidence show that emotionally stressful experience is allied with an endocrine disorder such as diabetes.
It also found that stress increases the risk for diabetes mellitus, especially in overweight people (16)
Studies believe that severe stress may stop insulin production, which turns in contribute to type II diabetes (17).
According to WebMD, overeating habits increased the level of hormone-like higher insulin levels (18)
However, some say that obesity itself can be a stressful state due to the high prevalence of weight (19).
Affect the immune system
Stress directly affects the immune system, and the relationship between both the immune system and stress has been considered for decades (20).
Research has even shown that short-term stress actually boosts the immune system (21).
The production of cytokines and other immune mediators decreased their effect on target cells during exposure to stress (23).
NOTE: Studies show that stress decreases the activity of natural killer cells and leads to tumor expansion and genetic instability.
How to manage stress?
There are many ways to manage stress, but most people use unhealthy ways which include:
- Drinking alcohol or smoking, which later becomes a habit
- By sex, or shopping
- using illegal drugs
There are many healthy ways to manage stress, but here are some popular ways which include:
- Exercises, like – yoga, running, swimming, etc
- learn how to control and manage stress by reading journals, channels, etc
- Get active, because physical activity can act as a stress suppressor or reliever.
- Connect with your loved ones
- Make some adventure or weekend plans, and go to nature
- Share, what you feel, with others, this is one of the best ways to calm stress and anxiety
- Do whatever you like, cooking, listening to music, etc
The relationship between stress and sick or illness is complicated, and it’s always with us, we just need to avoid or control it.
People who are older or already sick are more chance to get stress-related changes due to suppressed immune system.