Too Much Stress Can Be Detrimental To Your Health

Scientists are warning that stress may be even more hazardous than previously believed. Long-term stress has been linked to heart disease and stroke in the past, but in new findings, it is also thought to exacerbate cancer. Cancer Research UK said it cannot definitively connect stress and cancer, but its negative impact on the body can reduce the positive effects of cancer treatments. New findings from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) say it also makes the deadly disease more likely to spread.

Xue-Yan He, a former postdoc in CSHL, said stress and cancer are connected because stress causes white blood cells called neutrophils to form sticky structures that, in turn, allow cancer cells to travel from their growth site to other parts of the body.

Using mice in laboratory experiments, researchers removed tumors from animals that had cancer in their breast tissue, which was spreading to the lungs. After exposing the rodents to stress, Professor Mikala Egeblad said metastasis – the spread of cancer cells – increased by a factor of four.

The study’s key findings were that stress causes a fourfold increase in cancer cells and leads to the formation of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs), which facilitate its spread. Doctors say this information will help with cancer treatment because it will encompass stress management and emphasize the need for stress-free environments for patients.

The American Psychological Association says stress affects every system in the human body, from the skeleton to the gastrointestinal system. The most common fatal diseases prompted by stress involve persistent and long-term effects on the heart. Stress and anxiety prompt the heart rate to rise, and this can cause the heart to develop diseases or fail under the pressure. Stress also negatively affects reproduction, digestion, the airway to the lungs, as well as the central nervous and endocrine systems.

The Association recommends regular exercise, a good diet, sleep, and a healthy social network to keep stress at bay.