The immune system is a collection of billions of cells that pass through the bloodstream. They move inside and outside the tissues and organs, protecting the body from foreign bodies (antigens), such as cancer cells, bacterial and viral agents.
The main types of immune cells are leukocytes, which are divided into two types - lymphocytes and phagocytes.
Lymphocytes, in turn, are divided into two types:
When we are nervous or experiencing, the ability of the immune system to destroy antigens weakens. That's why we are more susceptible to infections.
Corticosteroid - a steroid hormone of stress, can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system (eg, reduces the number of lymphocytes).
Stress also has an indirect effect on the immune system, as a person in stressful situations uses unhealthy behavior strategies aimed at reducing stress, such as alcohol and smoking.
Stress is related to:
Stress reactions affect the digestive system. During stress, digestion is inhibited. After stress, digestive activity increases. It can affect the health of the digestive tract and provoke a peptic ulcer. Adrenaline, released during a stress reaction, also contributes to the formation of ulcers and other disorders.
Stress reactions increase the load on the circulatory system due to increased heart rate, etc. Stress also affects the immune system, increasing blood pressure.
Elevated blood pressure (a constant increase in blood pressure for several weeks) is the main cause of cardiovascular disease (CHD). IHD (ischemic heart disease) can be caused by excessive intake of salt, coffee or alcohol.
Stress helps to increase the level of cholesterol in the blood, thanks to the action of adrenaline and norepinephrine on the release of free fatty acids. This leads to the accumulation of cholesterol particles, which leads to the formation of blood clots, stenosis and occlusion of the arteries.
In turn, an increased frequency of heart rhythms is associated with a more rapid increase in cholesterol plaques on the walls of the arteries. Elevated blood pressure leads to internal damage to the walls of the artery, and cholesterol has a risk of getting into the area of these damages where it accumulates.
Stress also has an indirect effect on various diseases, because it is associated with all kinds of bad habits (coping strategies), for example, smoking, excessive drinking, poor nutrition due to lack of time, lack of exercise for the same reason, lack of sleep and t e.
All these factors have an adverse effect on human health, therefore they cause negative consequences associated with stress as such.
Short-term weakening of the immune system does not pose a particular danger to the body. However, chronic suppression makes the body vulnerable to infection and disease.
The current example of this is AIDS, a syndrome of acquired immunodeficiency. Here the immune system is suppressed, leaving the body vulnerable to disease. Stress leads to frequent illnesses and infections.