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Stress and Your Patient's Immune System

by Mike Menkes(more info)

listed in stress, originally published in issue 271 - June 2021

Stress and Your Patient's Immune System

by Mike Menkes


Complementary Medical Hypothesis

Stress management deserves to be considered the 1st approach and complementary care for all patient wellness protocols.

Effects of Chronic Stress on the Immune System

Research Illustrating Effects of Stress upon Many Health Conditions

  • Sleep deprivation caused by nightmares, insomnia, sleep apnoea and periodic limb movements may be a primary feature of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]. Disturbed sleep in post-traumatic stress disorder: Secondary symptom or core feature?
  • Individuals who score high on questionnaires relating to enduring tendencies to experience negative emotional states show a strong correlation to experiencing enduring migraine headaches (number of hours per week). Personality Traits and Stress Sensitivity in Migraine Patients. A review of the literature on migraine and personality yielded strong evidence for secondary neuroticism and increased sensitivity to stress in patients with migraine.
  • Office workers unable to cope with stressful tasks show an increase in heart rate, perceived tension and pain and decrease in accuracy, producing more typing errors than controls and workers without pain. Alterations in cervical muscle activity in functional and stressful tasks in female office workers with neck pain.  This study determined differences between computer workers with varying levels of neck pain in terms of work stressors, employee strain, electromyography (EMG) amplitude and heart rate response to various tasks.
  • Diabetes mellitus, the most common form of diabetes, is significantly affected by stress. Stress stimulates the release of various hormones, which can result in elevated blood glucose levels.  Lower Growth Hormone and Higher Cortisol are Associated with Greater Visceral Adiposity, Intramyocellular Lipids and Insulin Resistance in Overweight Girls.Although body composition, insulin sensitivity, and lipids are markedly altered in overweight adolescents, hormonal associations with these parameters have not been well characterized.
  • Gastrointestinal diseases such as peptic ulcers and ulcerative colitis are known to be greatly influenced by stress. The direct cause of peptic ulcers is the destruction of the gastric or intestinal mucosal lining of the stomach by hydrochloric acid, an acid normally present in the digestive juices of the stomach. Anger and hostility increase stomach acidity. The effect of acute psychologic stress on systemic and rectal mucosal measures of inflammation in ulcerative colitis.Recent studies suggest that life events and chronic stress increase the risk of relapse in inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack) is usually preceded by physical or psychological stress. Stress leads to a condition that promotes atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries). Independent effects of obesity and cortisol in predicting cardiovascular risk factors in men and women. Recent data suggest that higher plasma cortisol may be associated with hypertension and insulin resistance in otherwise healthy men, as it is in Cushing's syndrome. However, obesity in women is associated with lower plasma cortisol concentrations. 
  • Stress has been shown to increase susceptibility to viral infection. Stress suppresses the immune system; latent viruses can re-infect, since the body cannot defend itself as well. Cortisol levels and mortality in severe sepsis. Serum cortisol levels rise in response to the stress of critical illness but the optimal range of serum cortisol in such settings is not clearly defined.
  • Stress leads to the release of histamines, which can trigger severe broncoconstriction in asthmatics. The role of acute and chronic stress in asthma attacks in children. High levels of stress have been shown to predict the onset of asthma in children genetically at risk, and to correlate with higher asthma morbidity.
  • Patients with cancer will have poor eating habits because of nausea and depression. They have disturbed sleep patterns, such as insomnia or waking up in the middle of the night. They also frequently develop drug problems. The prevalence of psychological distress by cancer site. The goal of this project was to determine the prevalence of psychological distress among a large sample of cancer patients (n=4496). In addition, variations in distress among 14 cancer diagnoses were examined.
  • Children with autism who are integrated into normal school systems have a tendency for elevated cortisol; such children process and respond idiosyncratically to novel and threatening events resulting in an exaggerated cortisol response. Cortisol circadian rhythms and response to stress in children with autism. Autism is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairment in communication, social interaction, repetitive behaviours and difficulty adapting to novel experiences.
  • Persistent psychological stress has the potential to put vulnerable individuals at a substantially increased risk of depression, anxiety and many other emotional difficulties. Scientists have noted that changes in brain function — in the areas of the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland — may play a key role in stress-induced emotional problems. Chronic stress: Can it cause depression? Depression has many possible causes, such as genetics, brain chemicals and your life situation. Chronic stressful life situations can increase the risk of developing depression if you aren't coping with the stress well. There's also increasing evidence of links among poor coping, stress and physical illness
  • The association between psychological stress and skin diseases is well known from clinical practice and the literature, with the major skin disease, psoriasis, showing to have a 40-60% correlation. Pathogenesis of Stress-Associated Skin Disorders: Exploring the Brain-Skin Axis. The association between psychological stress and skin diseases is well known from clinical practice and the literature. Stress - a complex adaptive response - acts on different levels of the nervous system and affects many organ systems.
  • Both unemployment and inadequate employment affect mental health. Job loss and/or underemployment (involuntary part-time and poverty-level wage) can increase the risk of alcohol misuse. Underemployment and alcohol misuse in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. This study measured the impact of unemployment and underemployment on alcohol misuse.
  • It is important not only to treat the disorders but also to teach methods of coping with the associated stress to prevent immune problems. Stress management may provide better treatment protocols by removing aggravating factors, such as elevated or depressed cortisol. Study of the stress response: role of anxiety, cortisol and DHEA-s Several studies have exhibited the psychological processes that are implied in the stress response and have shown, according to Selye's research, the participation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the major role of cortisol.

Testimonials and Further Information

"My headaches of over 6 years went away after 1 treatment."

"I can see better!"

"Last Tuesday, I came into the store weighed down by stress and a backache; I left work feeling lighter and more flexible."

"I have had low back pain since giving birth to my daughter several years ago. Mike just held the back of my head for 2 minutes while I was sitting in a chair and my back pain is gone!"

Comcast Newsmaker Mike Menkes, LMT

Lifelong pain vanquished with a simple remedy performed on site.

Stress Relief & Pain Management Within 1 Minute



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About Mike Menkes

Mike Menkes, Natural products formulator, bodyworker and educator is a former advisor at Life Extension Foundation and is a past-president of Health Science Solutions. Creator of The Healthy Touch - a unique stress-relief hands-on technique Mike is available for on-site corporate/military stress management and personal anti-aging strategies drawing from natural and allopathic protocols - complementary medicine. He may be contacted via Tel: +1 954 534 1887;     


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