Busy with work? Losing sleep over school? Staying out with friends all hours of the night? Learn how stress weakens immune system functions.
Everyone is stressed. We live busy lives. Our culture has evolved to be fast paced. This means we cannot control our exposure to stress. Stress has a negative connotation. However, in small amounts stress is good. Eustress is one type of good stress. It is the butterflies you feel before a test. The adrenaline that pumps through your body when threatened. Otherwise known as fight or flight. This eustress boosts cognitive skills. Thus, you become more focused. More attuned to what is going on around you. So are you wondering how stress weakens immune system function?
Bad stress also exists and weakens the body and immune system. Long duration stress, or repetitive stress, becomes chronic stress. This bad stress is what plagues the body. It can lead to mental and physical health problems. Are you constantly worried at work? Persistently stressing over every assignment in school? Suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)? If you answered yes to any of these, chances are you are suffering from chronic stress.
Over periods of high stress, certain things occur in the body. High levels of cortisol are stuck in the blood. Isn’t cortisol good? Yes. But for certain conditions. In this case, high levels on anxiety develop. This is due to the chemical imbalances passing through the brain. Other issues involve depression and sleep deprivation. What physical problems exist? People can develop high blood pressure. Heart disease. Digestive problems. Worst of all, chronic stress destroys the immune system.
How Stress Weakens Immune System Function
There are two primary reasons why the immune system becomes affected by ongoing stress.
- Development of chronic inflammatory conditions.
- Autoimmune response in healthy people.
The culprit? High levels of cortisol. As with any substance, longevity and amount creates a resistance. If you drink frequently you become resistant. Look at drugs. Start off with one or two hits of marijuana. That might give you a good high. After a few weeks you need to smoke more. Soon you are smoking multiple times a day. This tolerance idea exists with cortisol. When the body becomes resistant, the substance response becomes abnormal. Inflammation is good for local areas. However, chronic inflammation is bad for organs and tissues. Proper healing and infection fighting ceases. Autoimmune conditions pop up. The body begins to attack itself.
Low protein levels to cells also exist. These proteins are used to help cells communicate with one another. When the cells can’t communicate, healing becomes elongated. Lymphocytes are also reduced. They are responsible for fighting infection. Therefore, the risk of disease and infection increases.
Stress can be beneficial in small amounts. However, over time stress can cause great harm to the body. Chronic stress often leads to adverse mental conditions. It does physical harm to bodily systems as well. Worst of all, long term stress destroys your disease fighting army. When possible, reduce your exposure to stress. Relax or try calming essential oils. Most things are not worth the stress. They are not worth the toll put on the body.