How Stress Affects The Immune System

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The immune system is a collection of billions of cells that travel through the bloodstream. They move in and out of tissues and organs, defending the body against foreign bodies, such as bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells.

How does it lower immunity?

The main types of immune cells are white blood cells. When we're stressed, the immune system's ability to fight off foreign bodies is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system. It does this by decreasing the quantity of one type of white blood cell called lymphocytes.

Stress can also have an indirect effect on the immune system as a person may use unhealthy coping strategies to reduce their stress, such as drinking and smoking.

Stress is linked to: headaches; infectious illness (such as the flu); cardiovascular disease; diabetes, asthma and gastric ulcers.

Simple steps to lower stress

In the current scene we are constantly being bombarded with news and information that is stressful. One of the easiest things to do is to take a break from the news. The media thrive on getting your attention - it's what pays the bills! They want to maximise the concern as that is what is effective in getting your attention. You'll find that if you just turn it all off for a while you will feel calmer.

Going for a walk and getting a little exercise and space is also a great stress reliever.

Additionally, listen to music that you enjoy or engage in an activity (a healthy one) that makes you feel good.

And make sure that you are getting sufficient sleep! It's a lot easier to get stressed when you haven't had enough rest.