What is a stress-induced infectious disease?

Are you someone that stresses about literally everything – like cramming for a test or trying to get a lot of things done in a short period of time? Stress is a feeling that we all experience when we are feeling overwhelmed or challenged. But it’s more than just an emotion, stress is a hard-wired physical response that doesn’t only make you feel awful emotionally, but it also takes a toll on your body and has an effect on your immune system – which makes you more prone to infections.

In the short-term, stress can be advantageous and you don’t have to worry much about it, but when you are constantly stressed for a long period of time, your primitive ‘fight or flight’ stress response not only changes your brain but also damages your other organs and cells throughout your body. Here’s how stress can cause stress-induced diseases or conditions. 

The adrenal gland

This gland releases the stress hormones that are known as adrenalin. Adrenalin helps your heart beat faster and raises your blood pressure, however the constant release of adrenalin can cause hypertension over time, and cholesterol to build up in your arteries. These can increase your chances of getting a heart attack or stroke. 

Irritable bowel 

Stress can also affect your natural bowel movement rhythm by disturbing the movement of food and causing indigestion and heartburn.

Immune cells

Stress also affects your defensive immune cells that fight off bacteria and viruses, and help you heal after injuries, but long-term stress can slow down the function of these cells which makes it easier for you to catch viruses like the flu.

Other infections that can be aided by stress are asthma, hair loss, acne, headaches, muscle tension, irritability, and fatigue. There are a couple of ways that you can destress, and you can prevent the possibility of getting chronic (long-term) stress. For tips, read these articles: 

How to meditate

Simple yoga poses

Simple breathing exercises

What is burnout and how can I avoid it?

If you are constantly stressed, you should go see your healthcare practitioner who can help you with alternative ways to deal with chronic stress.

Also remember that if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).