If you feel run down, tired, or stressed, it can impact your immune system more than you think it is. Stress, fatigue, and being overwhelmed are a fact of life. It will happen to all of us eventually; however, when you are constantly under these conditions, it can take a toll on not only your immune health but also your overall health. Modifying or eliminating some of the situations within your life is essential to improving your immune health.
Impacts of Stress on the Body
During times of stress the body produces a hormone called cortisol. When cortisol is released for short periods of time, immunity is boosted by the limiting of inflammation within the body. However, over time, the body can become accustomed to having too much cortisol in the blood, allowing the body to have more inflammation.
Stress causes your white blood cell count to decrease, also leaving you vulnerable to possible illness and infection. Your white blood cells are needed to fight infection and destroy any harmful pathogens that have made their way into the body. It can also cause one to develop cold sores and be subject to the common cold.
High-stress levels also cause depression and anxiety that can lead to higher inflammation levels within the body. High levels of inflammation show an overworked individual, overwhelmed, over-tired, which all leads to an immune system that cannot adequately protect you from foreign agents that have invaded the body.
Conditions that Cause Stress
Suppose you do not prevent high-stress levels as much as possible. In that case, chronic inflammation can lead to the development or progression of various diseases of the immune system, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, psoriasis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Long-term stress can develop other diseases such as cardiovascular issues, including heart disease and gastric ulcers. You can also be at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cancers, and a mental decline.
Better Manage Your Stress
Everyone must do their best to reduce their stress and combat stress as much as possible. You can take steps to reduce short- and long-term stress to include meditation, yoga, separating yourself from electronics, taking a walk, and allowing yourself to unwind. It would help if you were open to actively managing your stress and ensuring that you are physically and mentally healthy.
Once you are physically and mentally healthy, your immune system will have the ability to work the way it is supposed to work. Positive thinking, relaxation exercises, and behavior modification, such as changing how we behave that triggers stress reactions, are other ways to manage daily stress.
How to Know if Your Immune System is Low
In addition to actively managing your stress, you can also pay attention to what your body is telling you.
Your body will tell you if your immune system is low by a few signs:
- Catching colds easily
- Getting more than two colds a year
- Suffering from chronic infection
- Getting frequent cold sores
- Swollen or sore lymph glands
Recurring or chronic infections and mild cold are all signs of a low immune system. Once someone is suffering from a weakened immune system, it becomes a repetitive cycle to infection. The more infection that can be left within the body, fighting, and overtaking the body will damage your body and your immune system.
Stress reduction and supporting your immune system through your diet, exercise, and staying hydrated is the key to reducing your susceptibility to colds, the flu, or more severe diseases that the body will not be able to fight off.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.