STRESS AND THE BODY
💥While most of us know the immediate symptoms from stress, not as many people are aware of how stress is linked to other health issues
💥Chronically raised cortisol (the stress hormone) is thought to be tied in to many health conditions, including autoimmune disease, allergies, heart disease, hormonal issues, gut symptoms, and poor immunity
💥For example many viral infections remain dormant in the body (glandular fever, herpes, shingles virus etc) but can reactivate with high cortisol levels, as the immune system is less able to control them. They also even stimulate the HPA axis to produce more cortisol, helping them multiply!
💥Stress has a strong link with asthma and allergies, due to the effect of cortisol on T helper cell balance. Family conflict is a significant risk factor for children developing asthma
💥Polycystic ovary syndrome is hugely affected by stress, via the effect of cortisol on insulin levels /metabolism, which leads to many of the classic PCOS symptoms
💥People with PTSD have a significantly increased risk of developing autoimmune disease, as do children who experience trauma. It's thought that trauma alters dna expression, 'turning on' the genes involved in autoimmune issues. In war veterans, people with ptsd were over 50% more likely to develop autoimmune disease
💥Stress even makes you age faster, by shortening your telomeres (ends of dna)
💥The gut and brain are closely connected by the vagus nerve, which sends signals between them - stress directly alters both gut biome, and gut activity, hence link between stress and many gut issues (ibs, ibd, reflux, indigestion etc)
💥The gut biome also influences neurotransmitters this way, ie certain bacterial species (l. rhamnosus for example) can reduce anxiety- in animal studies, if the vagus nerve is cut this association disappears and the gut biome loses its ability to influence the brain
💥People heal slower from wounds and surgery, are more likely to catch colds, and even need more pain relief after injury if they are stressed. Chronic pain is also strongly linked to stress.
💥Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and strokes all have a strong link with stress (via effects of cortisol and adrenaline)
💥Fortunately, reducing stress can also help significantly with many of these diseases - more on this in my next posts!!
https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-020-2432-9. (ptsd study)
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17446651.2017.1266250?journalCode=iere20 (stress and pcos)