Stress and Illness/Disease Chapter 3 Hot Reactors What is a Hot Reactor? By definition-people who react to stress with an all-out physiological reaction An all out physiological reaction will, over time, take its toll on your health Signs of a Hot Reactor Angered easily Often anxious or depressed Frequent urination More than usual diarrhea or constipation Frequent feelings of nausea or vomiting Psychosomatic Disease People can “think” themselves sick Mind and Body connection Starts with perception (mind) and ends in physiological response (body) Psychosomatic Conditions that have both a mind and body component Also termed psychophysiological Types of Psychosomatic Disease 1) psychogenic Physical disease caused by emotional stress Asthma-no invasion of disease-causing microorgansims Mind changes the physiology so that parts of the body breakdown Some debate 2) Somatogenic Occurs when the mind increased the body’s susceptibility to some disease-causing microbes or some natural degenerative process Examples Cancer Rheumatoid arthritis Stress and the Immunological System Psychoneuroimmunology Field of research focused on both illness-causing and healing effects the mind can have upon the body Some Physiology Immune Response Phagocytes White blood cell whose purpose is to destroy substances foreign to the body Explanation for elevated white blood cell count during times of illness or disease Lymphocytes 2 Types Purpose of lymphocytes is to also identify and destroy any substance foreign to the body 1) T-cell Attacks by puncturing invaded body cells Kills the cells to destroy foreign substance 2) B-cells Type of lymphocyte that produces antibodies In response to antigens Macrophages Most valuable of all the phagocytes Engulf invading substances and summon the killer T-cells and B-cells Suppressor T-Cells As the invasion of antigen becomes contained, suppressor T-cells are produced to halt the immune response Meaning Killer T-cells are “put on hold” Phagocytes are also “put on hold” What’s Left? B-cells continue to produce antibodies Memory T-cells and B-cells are left in the bloodstream and lymphatic system to recognize and respond to future attacks of the same antigen Research College students Antibody levels were measured for five days before (baseline), on the day of, and two weeks after their final exames Findings Antibody levels were LOWEST during the exam period Stress and CHL Cholesterol (CHL) important in the production of testosterone and other hormones necessary for bodily function BUT------------------> TOO MUCH can be dangerous How? Excess serum CHL levels can lead to heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and hardening of the arteries (more about this in a minute) Blocks blood flow to the organs of the body Brain Heart Research Friedman, Rosenmann, and Carroll Investigated relationship (correlation) between stress and CHL 21 medical students had CHL levels measured before and right after final exams 20 of them had sig. higher levels of CHL before the stressful event Specific Conditions Hypertension Elevated blood pressure (mmHg) >120/80, however, standard has been made lower Systolic Pressure of the blood on arterial walls as it leaves the heart Diastolic Pressure of the blood on arterial walls when the heart is relaxed How dangerous is hypertension? VERY Known as the “silent killer” May not manifest any symptoms but overtime Stress on arteries and vessels, as well as kidneys and other organs of the body More on hypertension Causes Excessive sodium in the diet Genetics Stress Obesity Inactivity Kidney disease Use of oral contraceptives Percentages Among the US population 41% between the ages of 20-74 Due to obesity Kids as young as 8 years of age What can Happen? Cerebral Hemorrhage Pressure of blood too much on arteries, and rupture results In this case, the brain Myocardial Infarction Happens when coronary artery ruptures and a portion of the heart dies due to lack of O2 flow Overall Emotional stress is generally regarded as a major factor in the etiology (origin) of hypertension Stroke Defined Lack of O2 in the brain resulting from blockage (plaque) or rupture of one of the arteries that supply O2 Coronary Heart Disease Associated with diets high in saturated fat Lack of activity Heredity Obesity -*recent research has shown that obese or overweight individuals may be healthier in terms of risk when compared to non-obese inactive individuals 3 major risk factors of CHD 1) hypercholesterolemia (elevated CHL) 2) hypertension 3) smoking Personality Types Type A Most represented in heart attack patients Aggressive Competitive Time-urgent Hostile Doing things quickly Concerned with quantity over quality Often did more than one things at once Technology may contribute Type B Reciprocal of Type A More laid back Type C Components of both Many of us may exhibit characteristics of both depending on the situation Type A Personality May be more predisposed to Coronary Heart Disease May be more predisposed to atherosclerosis Results from high total CHL levels Clogging of the arteries Arteriosclerosis Hardening and loss of elasticity of arteries Coupled together, can lead to CHD, myocardial infarction, and/or stroke Homocysteine An amino acid formed during the metabolism of plasma methionine, which is an amino acid derived from protein in the diet Increased Levels Have been associated with increased risk for CHD New tests to measure levels and determine whether someone is at risk for CHD The Research Has demonstrated a correlation between anger (goes back to type A) and homocysteine levels From the Research Stoney concluded that “it is possible that one mechanism for the increased risk of CHD as a function of psychological stress is through a stress-associated elevation in homocysteine.” Ulcers Are defined by “fissures or cuts in the wall of the stomach, duodenum, or other parts of the intestines” Good support from the research that stress increased hydrochloric acid in the stomach and intestines Ulcers continued Other theories pose that during times of chronic stress, norepinephrine secretion causes capillaries in stomach lining to constrict As a result, protective mucous lining production is inhibited and hydorchloric acid breaks down lining of stomach causing bleeding Bacteria and Ulcers Some research suggests bacteria (H. Pylori) may be the cause H. Pylori may stimulate acid production breaking down lining of the stomach Nonetheless, stress compounds the issue and may further inflame the ulcer Migraine Headaches Result of constriction and dilation of the carotid arteries on one side of the head Preattack (also termed predrome) Constriction phase Sensitivity to light Flushing of skin Feeling of Nausea Migraines Debilitating headaches that can last up to six hours Usually occur after a stressful situation Stress may be a trigger Tension Headache Different type of headache May be caused by tension of muscle Muscle tension may affect the forehead, neck, and jaw Stress is often the culprit Cancer Prevention and treatment of cancer both involve controlling stress and stressful situations Some cancer caused by carcinogens Cancer causing agents Smoking Red meat Viruses T-lymphocytes Function is to destroy mutant cells (e.g., cancerous) Production is impaired during time of stress The cancer prone person 1) hold resentment with an inability to forgive 2) use of self-pity 3) lack the ability to develop and maintain meaningful interpersonal relationships Continued 4) have poor self-image 5) experienced sever emotional disturbances during childhood (e.g., divorce, death in family) Cancer Continued 1950’s LeShan identified characteristics among cancer patients 1) reported a lost relationship prior to diagnosis 2) were unable to express hostility in their own defense Continued 3) felt unworthy and disliked themselves 4) had a tense relationship with one or both parents More recently, research has not found a significant correlation between personality and the development of cancer Backaches Again, due to muscle tension, which can be brought on by stress Bracing may also contribute to backaches TMJ (Temporomandibular Syndrome) May result in pain in jaw Clicking or popping sounds when mouth is opened and closed Migraine headaches Dizziness Sensitivity of Teeth Causes Jaw jutting Jaw structure *Most common cause is grinding of the teeth Done during times of stress, awake or asleep Many don’t realize they grind their teeth PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder Acute stress disorder Precedes PTDS (six months) Major life stressors Death of loved on War In class questions Do you think stress is related to any of the diseases we discussed? If yes, how and why? If not, why?