Are You Stressed Out and Sick? Stress Could be the Cause

I don’t know about you but I notice that if I’m stressed out I tend to suffer from sickness more than when I’m not stressed.  It’s not just all in my head, or your head.  It’s proven that there is a connection between stress and sickness.  Of course the loss of a loved one or a big project at work isn’t going to give you the flu it can decrease the functioning of your immune system.  When your immune system has a decrease in its functioning this leaves you susceptible to infections.

This may sound contradictory to what I just said in the above paragraph about stress and becoming sick but short term stress actually boosts your immune system.  Strange isn’t it?  Increased immune functioning is associated with the fight or flight response which is related to short term stress you know will end.  The problem that we have, or should I say our bodies have, with this is that most of our stress is continual over a long period of time.

Besides long term stress, which tends to be the worst kind for us, stress that we can’t control or see no end to is what causes the decrease in our immune functioning.  For example, stress that is caused by a loss of your job or debilitating accident is going to be far worse for you than the stress of a deadline at work.  Our body can’t deal with stresses that are beyond our control (loss of job, etc) and it begins to take a toll on us.

It makes sense that the longer you deal with stress or stressors in your life, the decrease in your immune functioning becomes greater and greater.  So even if you feel you have control over an are of your life long term stress, such as a high power job, can and probably will build up and gradually decrease your ability to fight disease.

If you are elderly are already sick, stress is going to only add to the already decreased immune functioning.  When you hear of an elderly person dying within a year of losing a loved one, or of them dying within a year of a severe injury, that’s why.  Their immune system just isn’t as strong as someone who hasn’t suffered from these circumstances.

Many people believe the myth that if they drop their stress level there won’t be anything to worry about and they’ll be fine.  That just isn’t the case.  Research has shown that traumatic events will effect out immune system over a long period of time regardless of the fact that the stressor is gone.  The best way to increase immunities after a traumatic event (car accident, attack, etc) is to seek professional help and treatment for the trauma.

Stress is also capable of making you susceptible to other long term diseases such as cardiovascular disease.  Although stress isn’t preventable you should include activities and a healthy diet that promote less stressful lifestyles.

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