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Stress and Your Immune System

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 6 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Stress Overcoming Stress Immune System

Your body at any given time can fall victim to all manner of ailments, some of them caused by bacteria in the air, some of them caused by problems with organs or areas of the body.But it has now been proven that stress – and indeed increased levels of stress – can lead to problems with our physical health.Many sufferers of stress – and in particular high levels of stress – have found that their physical health has become a matter of some concern too.

Common Stress Related Health Problems

Below is a list of physical ailments that can be attributed to stress:
  • Heart Disease
  • Angina
  • Diabetes
  • Tooth Decay
  • Ulcers
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Impotency
  • Hair Loss
Of course the aforementioned list is not an exhaustive one and there are many other ailments that can be attributed in some way or form to levels of stress. It is estimated that in the United Kingdom alone around 90% of all visits to General Practitioners are in some way based on an illness caused by stress.


Likewise it is fair to mention that a lot of these conditions are psychosomatic – meaning that the sufferer believes that he or she is suffering from a particular medical condition and as a direct result can begin to exhibit the actual physical characteristics of the illness.

Obviously our immune systems are finely tuned and occasionally are sent out of balance by the introduction of a bug or bacteria into our bodies but with stress it is very much harder to pinpoint the reason for the illness’ existence.

Many doctors find themselves telling their patients that there is actually nothing physically wrong with them and this in itself is obviously traumatic for the sufferer because it can lead to levels of paranoia as well.

At Risk Groups

A large number of us are now employed in jobs that carry a high level of stress such as in service industries such as catering or in the armed forces or police services. These people often find that not only are they stressed to dangerous levels but that their immune systems are run down, which then leads to illness and subsequently long periods of time spent out of work.

Indeed it is fair to say that many types of stress that were once thought of as nothing more than ‘all in the mind’ are now taking the lead in preventing many people from holding down full-time employment and functioning as part of a social circle.

Boost Your Defences

Our immune systems can of course be boosted by the regular intake of vitamins as well as regular exercise and time spent away from the work place in a more relaxing environment.

For example spending fifteen to twenty minutes a day walking or exercising can help not only reduce the level of stress experienced in a sufferer but also can increase the efficiency of the body’s immune system.

As with all ailments stress can ultimately be debilitating if left untreated so it is important – just with all physical illnesses – to consult your doctor or indeed a doctor employed in the work place should one be available.

Your doctor will be able to help you order and structure your lifestyle so that stress is not as much a problem as it could be. But it should also be remembered that you as the individual must – where possible – consider your own health and well being and make changes to your working and social life if they are necessary.

Most people find that their health is affected if – for example – they work many long hours without proper breaks or if they work long hours and do not eat or sleep properly. All of these factors are important and should be considered thoroughly if you feel you are stressed and more importantly, if you feel that the levels of stress in your life are having a knock on effect to your physical health.

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