Stress Management

Stress and the Immune System: FAQs

Stress is a dangerous factor in the life of man. It affects all the systems of the body. We often talk only about chronic or persistent stress when we discuss the relationship between stress and the immune system. You need also to look at acute or short term stress. Acute stress happens in a particular scenario. Acute stress is generally a stress which happens at intervals.

Stress and immune system are linked. Take an example. Suppose there is burglar in the house during night. Your body will respond to these threats immediately, by experiencing a state of acute stress. These overall responses of the body will reflect in the form of stress. As perĀ  medical science, it is the immune system which registers the immediate effects of stress. In the case of acute stress, the spleen discharges more white blood cells. It directs these white blood cells to the skin, bone marrow, lymph nodes and other parts of the body. In acute stress, regularĀ  cellular activities are suspended on a temporary basis. This ultimately affects body parts that are more prone to attack like skin, bone marrow and lymph nodes.

The body system again relaxes once it has crossed the danger mark. The body performs all normal cellular activities. Studies reveal that chronic stress affects the immune system in a different manner than acute stress. People with chronic stress have low white blood cell count. They are prone to coughs, colds and influenza. Usually in such cases recovery from a particular illness takes time. In chronic stress, severe symptoms affect the immune system over a period of time.

As per medical studies, chronic stress reduces immunization responses. These days, scientists across the world are studying the relationship between stress and the immune system. Stress and immune system study is done on AIDS patients. This research is also carried on patients with other diseases. So far the exact relationships between stress and the immune system have not been determined, although it is a widely accepted fact that relationships do exist.