How does severe emotional stress increase your risk for developing symptoms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease? Likely because the stress results in your body releasing stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin, designed to trigger the stress response of flight or fight in response to the stressful events. You need cortisol to respond to stress appropriately. When the stressors are severe and chronic, however, your body can swing out of balance. One of the functions of cortisol involves regulating the inflammatory response, which actually suppresses immune system function in favor of saving resources for either fighting or fleeing. Therefore, chronic stress (or the presence of unmanaged negative stress), increases your risk of becoming sick. Medical News Today reported earlier this year on research presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Miami, Florida, which showed that ruminating on a stressful incident can increase levels of a marker of inflammation in your body: C-reactive protein. Inflammation has been found to be a hallmark of most diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and now Alzheimer’s.
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