Categories: Immunity

The Relationship among Stress, Sickness and the Immune System

The immune system consists of groups of billions of cells that move within the blood flow whereas they enter in…

The immune system consists of groups of billions of cells that move within the blood flow whereas they enter in and exit out of tissues and organs to protect the body against foreign bodies (Pathogens) such as: Bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells.
There are two types of Lymph cells:
B-Cells which produce antibodies that are released in the fluids that surround body cells in order to destroy invading bacteria and viruses.
T-Cells if a pathogen invades a body cell, T-Cells clump onto the invaded cell and multiply to destroy it.
The main types of immune cells are the lymphocytes and macrophages, and when we are under a lot of stress, the resistance ability of the immune system weakens against pathogens, and thus the chances of being infected increase.
The stress hormone known as Cortisol (Corticosteroid) can hinder the effectiveness of the immune system. i.e. it causes a drop in lymphocytes count.
Stress can also harm the immune system indirectly, for the person under pressure may adopt some unhealthy habits such as, smoking and drinking alcohol, in order to adapt to/reduce stress.

Stress is also linked to headaches and conditions such as flu, cardiovascular system disorders, diabetes, asthma and peptic ulcers.

Stress and the immune function

The short term temporary suppression of the immune system is not very dangerous. However, chronic suppression makes the body susceptible to damages and diseases. A recent example of the above mentioned is the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) where the immune system is suppressed which leaves the body prone to falling ill, in other words long-lasting stress leads to recurrent sickness and injuries.
The body’s response to stress could also cause more exhaustion for the cardiovascular system as a result heart rate increases, which makes it more likely to get cardiac and circulatory disorders such as coronary heart disease.

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Nilesia