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Tuesday, 03 April 2012 10:17

How stress affects Immunity and makes you ill?

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Have you ever catch cold while you are under stress? Do you know WHY? or how stress makes you fall sick.  In our lifetime, most of us may have experience that with stress the physical complaint also follow, and we are aware that stress causes negative impact not only on mind but also on body – physical and health. It has been found in many studies that psychological stress is associated with many health problems including depression, heart diseases and infectious diseases etc. however,it is not clear exactly how stress influences disease and health.

On the base of study findings the researchers think that they can explain how stress makes us vulnerable to diseases, particularly cold in this case.

In a study they observed that people who were stressed were less sensitive to the hormone Cortisol, the so-called stress hormone released by the adrenal glands when we feel threatened or anxious. The one function of  cortisol  is  to temporarily dampen the immune system, and specifically the inflammatory response, in order to free up energy to deal with threats.
The fact that cortisol suppresses inflammation presents a puzzle: People who are chronically stressed tend to have higher levels of cortisol, yet the sneezing, sniffling, and coughing of the average cold are actually caused by the inflammatory response to a virus, not the virus itself. Shouldn’t stress therefore prevent cold symptoms?
The authors of the new study have an answer: The key factor that influences a person’s vulnerability to illness appears to be the immune system’s sensitivity to cortisol, not his or her cortisol levels per se. And chronic stress, the study suggests, may weaken the body’s responsiveness to the hormone, allowing the inflammation that  worsens the symptoms of cold.

Researchers in the U.S. questioned 176 men and women about difficult experiences they had been through in the past 12 months.
Drops of the common cold virus were then dripped into their nose and scientists checked if they caught the germ. Those who had been under stress were twice as likely to develop a cold.
Importantly, tests showed their immune systems had become less sensitive to cortisol reports the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A second, smaller experiment that used a different measure of inflammation confirmed the link between cortisol resistance and higher levels of inflammation that can show itself as redness, itchiness, swelling and pain, occurs when the immune system spots an infection and is a vital first step in fending off disease.

Common cold: Viruses are easier to pick up if your immune system is compromised (Posed by model). However, when it persists, it not only raises the risk of colds but many other illnesses.

Researcher’s views

Professor Sheldon Cohen, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, said: ‘The immune system’s ability to regulate inflammation predicts who will develop a cold, but more importantly it provides an explanation of how stress can promote disease.
‘When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease.
‘Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well.
Although a cure for the common cold is still a long ways off, the findings do raise the possibility that there may be “ways of intervening when a person is chronically stressed, possibly pharmacologically, to influence this kind of process,” Cohen says.

Cohen also hopes that knowing this will help to identifying which diseases may be influenced by stress and for preventing disease in chronically stressed people.

There are also many other ways that stress can make us ill.

Stress Affects Decision Making Capacity

Know Why Stress Ages You So Fast!

Don’t allow cold to catch you!!!

Doctor, Am I having Flu or Cold?


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Read 30673 times Last modified on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 10:50


  • Comment Link broadband without phone line Friday, 20 July 2012 09:15 posted by broadband without phone line

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  • Comment Link  Dr. Glen Friday, 13 April 2012 11:43 posted by Dr. Glen

    In working with clients/students for decades, I have enjoyed the great blessing of deeper and deeper realization that it is ALL ABOUT taking full ownership of a TRULY healthful/refined dietary, exercise, AND meditation/diaphragmatic breathing WAY OF LIFE. It is the key to avoiding as many health difficulties as possible. Most health-related difficulties are rooted in ways of life congruent with unhealthful nutrition, abbreviated levels of exercise/mobility, and not learning to control stress/anxiety. We all do have particular genetic and life-learned propensities toward having certain 'thorns in our sides,' albeit these difficulties can be quite often avoided if we take ownership of a way of life which does not exacerbate these weaknesses. It is all about taking True Responsibility for our own health and wellbeing.

    This is tough stuff! Even so, it is making one's world, THE world a better taking True Responsibility for one's own health and wellbeing. To be clear: This healthful mindset is inclusive of strategically developing objective insight/critical thinking skills, and educating oneself so that one can deeply justify a truly healthful philosophical and practical way of life. It is about True Honesty, promoting of True Happiness and True Freedom...but most importantly, nothing to hide behind. True Honesty makes it possible to control anxiety - alleviating the pernicious weight of unhealthful cyclical thinking. Much of the difficulties in our lives are associated with the issue of forgiveness..lack of forgiveness of others and of ourselves. Lightening our load of this awful weight is a wonderful path toward True Health. -

  • Comment Link Subhasis Banerji Thursday, 12 April 2012 15:10 posted by Subhasis Banerji

    In some systems like Ayurveda and Yoga, stress is considered a voluntary choice...the person "chooses" (knowingly or unknowingly) to house stress in the body (driven in most cases by excessive desires, aversions and compulsions). By "choosing' to be stressed, the mind sends a clear signal to the body that being healthy and alive is secondary to other life goals, one of which seems (to the body) to be permanently high cellular cortisol, shallow breath, etc.!
    As an evolutionary reaction, the body will then dutifully obey the mind and trigger a self-destructive process, by lowering immunity and defenses against inflammation (or maybe a cancer or auto-immune disease). So although stress is a cause for lowered immunity, it is a secondary one. The original primary trigger lies in the thought process and state of awareness.

  • Comment Link Dr.nilima jain Thursday, 12 April 2012 14:54 posted by Dr.nilima jain

    Stress can either be physical, or mental, or emotional.
    Physical stress is due to overuse or misuse of the body, for instance over-exercising or over-exertion at workplace.
    Mental stress is due to overuse or misuse of mind like in cases of desk-work for long hours at workplace.
    Emotional stress is due to a situation which has lead to a heart-break such as sudden loss of a dear one or a relationship issue.
    Most individuals today are prone to multitasking. As a result they have a tendency to over-estimate their abilities and try to accomplish multiple tasks at the same time. This generally ends up in making them feel frustrated as they are not able to carry them out as per their expectations. To avoid this, it is better to set the priorities right and focus on one thing at a time. This increases the concentration as well as the efficiency.Here's how Ayurveda intervention can be favored over contemporary anti-depressant pills-

  • Comment Link Monisha Thursday, 05 April 2012 15:24 posted by Monisha

    Great information, Thanks!

  • Comment Link Tony Wednesday, 04 April 2012 11:07 posted by Tony

    Good article Dr.
    i have been doing workshops on the effect of stress on every cell in the body and what we need to know is thatstage 1 of stress is normal the chemicals are secreted from the Hypothalamus to the Pituitary then the travel to the Adrenals then back up to the Pituitary then they stop flowing, but in stage 2 & 3 of stress the chemicals never stop flowing this is called the ACTH loop, these chemicals in small amounts are necessary but in large amounts corrode the cells and damage every part of our body, so we need to learn to control our stress levels.

  • Comment Link Dr. Glen Hepker Tuesday, 03 April 2012 22:25 posted by Dr. Glen Hepker

    Great article!

  • Comment Link Hillel Tuesday, 03 April 2012 22:20 posted by Hillel

    Stress Reduction – This is the most basic type of imagery – easy to learn and deploy. It has nearly universal use – who does not suffer from some sort of stress? When taken through the process by Dr. Mazansky, patients/clients will learn how to employ more of their conscious mental capabilities which can be used to unleash a powerful tool using both guided and interactive imagery. Since humans use approximately 10% of the brain’s capacity, part of the other 90% can be used to unleash a powerful tool.
    Active Visualization – Patients are trained to achieve a level of relaxation where they are capable of deploying more mental capacity to visualize a positive outcome. This is a method that assists in pre-surgery mental preparation and post-surgical pain modification. It
    also assists in the speedy healing and the physical and psychological pain that may result from incisional procedures. It can also modify health impairing behaviors like smoking and other addictions.

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