Connection between stress and autoimmune disease affirmed by research

We’ve all experienced stress manifesting in physical symptoms. For example, you may notice that your allergies or asthma get worse when you are stressed. You may wonder whether the stress from work is making the allergy or asthma attack worse. Wonder no more: a massive study spanning 30 years of data and examining over one million people has found a strong connection between stress and an increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases such as, allergy, asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

This extraordinarily large-scale observational study followed over one million people in Sweden for a period of 30 years. Over 100,000 people were ultimately diagnosed with a stress-related disorder, from PTSD to acute stress reaction and adjustment disorder. This population is compared with another one million subjects who over the 30-year period were not diagnosed with any stress-based disorder. The study found that those suffering from a diagnosed stress-related disorder were 30 to 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed later with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.

Previous research has shown that too much stress can affect the immune system. This study clarified the link between stress and autoimmune diseases. The study conclusively draws a strong link between psychological stress and physical inflammatory conditions.

Work related stress may be unavoidable. However, learning to manage stress using stress-relieve practices such as meditation or yoga may be benefiting you more than just simple stress relieve. Those practices may be relieving your allergy or asthma symptoms too.

Relax, it’s good for you.

Journal Reference: Huan Song, MD, PhD1,2; Fang Fang, MD, PhD2; Gunnar Tomasson, MD, PhD3,4,5; et al Association of Stress-Related Disorders With Subsequent Autoimmune Disease JAMA. 2018;319(23):2388-2400. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7028

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