Join Now!      Login

Whole Person Wellness Program Wellness Model
Skip Navigation Links
Health Centers
Key Services
Medicial Mistakes?
How many people each year suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death after a hospital visit?
from 46,000 to 78,000
from 78,000 to 132,000
from 132,000 to 210,000
from 210,000 to 440,000

 What Doctors Don't Tell You: Stress: Poison by slow motion 
What Doctors Don't Tell You © (Volume 13, Issue 8)

The effects of this impaired immune function can be seen in studies showing poor wound-healing in stressed individuals (Arch Gen Psychiatry, 1999; 56: 450-6; Lancet, 1995; 346: 1194-6; J Periodontol, 1999; 70: 786-92; Am Psychol, 1998; 53: 1209-18) as well as an increased susceptibility to colds and flu (N Engl J Med, 1991; 325: 606-12; Psychosom Med, 1999; 61: 175-80; J Psychosom Res, 1997; 43: 271-8; Health Psychol, 1998; 17: 214-23).

We are only just beginning to understand the ways in which stress can alter immunity. Initially, the surge of brain and adrenal hormones that accompanies stress causes an increase in circulating white blood cells. But when cortisol levels remain high, white blood cell numbers decline. The immunosuppressive effect of cortisol has also been found to contribute to reductions in lymphocyte numbers and their effectiveness (J Consult Clin Psychol, 1992; 60: 569-75; Psychol Bull, 1990; 103: 363-82). Cortisol also inhibits the production of cytokines (compounds involved in the inflammatory response) which, in turn, can be detrimental to the body’s response to immune challenges (Psychosom Med, 1999; 61: 175-80).

Poor immunity has been documented in studies of caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease (Ann Behav Med, 1987; 9: 16-20). Indeed, along with caring for family members with progressive dementia, other chronic stressors such as poor marital relationships and divorce have been associated with eventual suppression, rather than adaptation, of the immune response (Psychosom Med, 1996; 58: 264-72; Psychosom Med, 1987; 49: 13-34; Psychosom Med, 1988; 50: 213-29; Psychol Inquiry, 1991; 2: 249-51).

There is also an evolving belief that poor immunity as a result of chronic stress may also contribute to the development of cancer. Retrospective studies have found an association between acute loss, bereavement, depression and subsequent development of several types of cancer, including colorectal and prostate cancers (Psychosomatics, 1981; 21: 975-80; Ann NY Acad Sci, 1966; 125: 820-6; Ann NY Acad Sci, 1966; 125: 780-93; Health Psychol, 1999; 18: 482-6).

But it has been the development and progression of breast cancer in relation to life stress that has undergone the most study (BMJ, 1996; 312: 845; Cancer, 1996; 77: 1015-6; J Behav Med, 1978; 1: 133; Science, 1979; 205: 513-5). Women with advanced breast cancer have been found to have high daytime levels of cortisol whereas, in general, cortisol levels are high first thing in the morning, drop during the day and are at their lowest around midnight. Such women die, on average, a year sooner from their condition than those with normal cortisol levels (J Natl Cancer Inst, 2000; 92: 994-1000; Lancet, 1989; ii: 888-91).

Natural killer (NK)-cell activity is important in the prevention of breast cancer metastasis (J Clin Oncol, 1987; 5: 348-53), and there is evidence that women with breast cancer tend to have significantly reduced NK destruction of tumour cells compared with women who have benign breast disease or healthy breasts (Br J Cancer, 1982; 46: 611-6; Health Psychol, 1985; 4: 99-113). In some women, chronic stress can suppress NK activity.

Other evidence suggests that breast cancer patients who have experienced a high number of severe, adverse life events during their illness appear to have shorter remission times than those patients who report fewer or less severe, adverse life events during their illness (BMJ, 1989; 298: 291-3).

CONTINUED      Previous   1  2  3  4  5  Next   
 Comments Add your comment 

 About The Author
What Doctors Don't Tell You What Doctors Don’t Tell You is one of the few publications in the world that can justifiably claim to solve people's health problems - and even save lives. Our monthly newsletter gives you the facts you won't......more
 From Our Friends
Popular & Related Products
Popular & Featured Events
Error Reading Event Calendar
Dimensions of Wellness
Wellness, Intimacy, dimension!

Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Wellness Inventory       Wellness Center
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us
Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Are you ready to embark on a personal wellness journey with our whole person approach?
Learn More/Subscribe
Are you looking to create or enhance a culture of wellness in your organization?
Learn More
Do you want to become a wellness coach?
Learn More
Free Webinar