AUG 24, 2017 04:19 PM PDT

Why You're More Likely to Get Sick When Stressed

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Stress is an unavoidable aspect of life. At any age and at any circumstances, we are exposed to stress. While some small amount of stress can be beneficial, too much stress can make you sick, physically and mentally.

In response to stress, the body releases a cascade of molecules, including cortisol and steroids. The body is not built to be exposed to these stress molecules for the long-term. Chronic stress takes a toll on the heart, increasing the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attacks. The stomach also doesn't fare well when exposed to stress for a long time. People with chronic stress can develop gastrointestinal problems such as ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. At the immune level, stress can make people prone to infections because stress weakens the immune system. This is why you always seem to catch a cold when under stress.

Fortunately, some stress can be relieved through exercise and getting a good night's rest. Moreover, stress management with a trained counselor may also be beneficial in helping you relieve your stress.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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