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Stress causes unhealthy inflammation

Category: General Health

Cortisol testing may benefit individuals who regularly feel anxious and nervous, as a new study has found that the stress hormone may play an important role in the function of the immune system.

Researchers from UCLA found that stress reactions can increase inflammation in the body. For those who experience chronic stress problems, this can lead to serious complications like heart disease, depression and asthma.

For the study, participants were exposed to several socially stressful situations. These included preparing and delivering an impromptu speech in front of an audience and performing mental arithmetic in front of disapproving observers. They then used mouth swabs to measure inflammation.

They found that individuals who reported the most stress had the greatest inflammatory reactions.

"This is further evidence of how closely our mind and body are connected," said lead researcher George Slavich. "We have known for a long time that social stress can 'get under the skin' to increase risk for disease, but it's been unclear exactly how these effects occur."

He added that this is likely to have negative consequences for the immune system, which causes the inflammatory reaction.

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