Stress strikes again


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It's the time of the year where we are sitting in 100 Thomas or any other large lecture hall and everyone is coughing. While we are carelessly sitting in class trying to learn, we are exposing ourselves to all types of germs and bacteria. It's common to justify this as the common cold or to say that it is the result of the weather. But one thing we fail to consider is levels of stress and the impact it has on our body. There are studies to suggest that stress is one of the primary reasons for a weakened immune system.

When under stress, the body under goes a lot of changes and many of these changes begin with the the cells moving in and out of the immune system. Corticosteroid, a stress related hormone is one of the primary reason for the changes in the body. As corticosteroid is released into the body, it suppresses the healthy cells of the immune system and lowers the number of lymphocytes. Lymphocytes, for the non-science majors, are the B and T cells produced in the body. B cell responsibility is to produces antibodies that destroys viruses and bacterias while the T cell is responsible for attaching to infected cells, multiplying then destroying that cell. What does this all mean? Simply this, when stressed our ability to fight off bacteria, viruses and germs is weakened because of the lack of antivirus cells (see an illustration of the system in this article).



As college students, it is stressed that we take care of our bodies and limit our stress as much as possible. It's now evident why it is important to control our stress levels. There are a number of ways we can reduce our stress levels, such as staying on top of our work and exercise. We are also encouraged to get the recommended amount of sleep and to keep up with our vitamins similar to these suggestions found here.

One thing that I am trying to understand is why our body do not reproduce more lymphocytes knowing that our body is in danger. Due to the suppression, I assumed that it was standard for the body to make more of the cells that are not present. The B and T cells seem like an important cell that impacts and protects the body of viruses and unhealthy bacteria. Why do you think the body do not reproduce as soon as a cell is weakened?



1 Comment

This article is on a topic that I have been curious about for a long time. I understand that stress is a part of everyday life, but I have personally been a victim to the effects that stress may have on a person and have seen other people be so stressed out that they don't know what to do with themselves. As was mentioned, there are ways to reduce stress levels, but they are easier to say than actually execute. Getting sleep is a great stress reducer, but the only problem with sleep is that a side effect of being too stressed out is lack of sleep, and at least for me, when I don't get sleep I lose most motivation to go to the gym or stay on top of my work. Stress is a very big deal among everyone, especially college students, some people are just able to handle it better than others.

Here's an article on how stress effects the human body: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-symptoms/SR00008_D

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