Saturday, December 22, 2012
Stress and Risk of Colds
Would you like to reduce your risk of developing a cold, especially during the holiday season? Learn to manage the daily stressors of life more effectively. Sheldon Cohen, Carnegie Mellon University director of the Laboratory for the Study of Stress, Immunity and Disease, and his research team were the first to show how chronic stressors can lead directly to the common cold. They found that the immune cells of people suffering from chronic stress (e.g., conflicts with bosses, spouses, close relatives; prolonged unemployment) gradually became insensitive to the ability of cortisol (stress hormone) to reduce inflammation. Thus, when exposed to a cold virus, their bodies were unable effectively to prevent disease symptoms caused by the inflammatory response. Individuals with ongoing conflict with others had more than twice the risk of getting a cold than those without chronic stress issues; the unemployed or underemployed had five times the risk of getting a cold when exposed to the virus.