How Does Stress Affect My Inflammation & Immune System?
Stress can worsen and has been linked to the development of immune conditions, such as allergies and asthma, and autoimmune disorders (such as rashes and rheumatoid arthritis). Pain is a response of the inflammatory system, which is a part of the immune system. Stress can intensify pain, causing disorders such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Both conditions are believed to be closely related to stress levels. In addition, cortisol is a powerful stress hormone that disrupts normal functioning of the immune system. Excessive quantities of cortisol suppress immune function, so that people under chronic stress are more susceptible to colds and other types of infection. On the other hand, too little cortisol can result in inflammation, allergies and autoimmune disorders. The immune system goes on “high alert” under acute stress. Infection-fighting white blood cells attach themselves to the blood vessel walls, ready to depart for whatever part of the body is injured. If stressf