Dr. Avnish Jolly ,21 August :Resent studies has exposed that the stress could also give rise to allergies other than the already known fact that the negative side effect of stress on the human body starts with the heart disease and ends with cervical cancer.
According to researches from Harvard Medical School present at the American Thoracic Society’s 2008 International Conference in Toronto said that the women who were stressed during the time of pregnancy were more likely to give birth to babies who have more chances of high level of Immunoglobulin E or IgE, an immune system chemical linked to allergic responses.
Prof. Jan Kiecolt, Psychologist and Prof. Glaser, Psychiatrist, Ohio State University, conducted the new study and involved 28 volunteers with a history of hay fever and seasonal allergies. They said that volunteers were subjected to a low-stress condition such as reading quietly from magazines and to much more nerve-racking conditions such as giving a videotaped speech in the presence of a group of “behavior evaluators” and figuring out mathematical problems without paper or pen in front of the group and then watching their videotaped performance.
According to the researchers, the allergic reactions were much worse in people who were highly anxious (about 75 percent worse compared to the allergic reactions in people subjected to low-stress conditions) and that the worsening of allergies could linger after the stress had passed. The allergic reactions that were most common in the volunteers appeared on the forearm as slight wounds, or “wheals.”
They also emphasized that what’s interesting about this is that it shows that being stressed can cause a person’s allergies to worsen the next day. This is clinically important for patients since most of what we do to treat allergies is to take antihistamines to control the symptoms – runny nose, watery, itchy eyes, and congestion. Antihistamines don’t deal with those symptoms on the next day and added that the problem is more serious than previously believed as people suffering from allergies often also have asthma, a condition that can be deadly under stress.
Prof. Gailen Marshal, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Mississippi said that late-phase reactions also occur in allergic asthma and can, in the proper settings, be potentially life-threatening. The results of this study should alert practitioners and patients alike to the adverse effects of stress on allergic reactions in the nose, chest, skin and other organs that may seemingly resolve within a few minutes to hours after starting, but may reappear the next day, when least expected.
These findings were presented at the 116th annual convention of the American Psychological Association in Boston.