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The following article was contributed by Kamau Austin

Stress can Kill You More Ways than you Think!

When you think of stress and how it can kill you, do you picture a middle-aged, chain-smoking male with a big rig tire stretched across his belling yelling profanities into his cell phone and think, Nah, that's not going to happen to me!

Stress Management

When you think of stress and how it can kill you, do you picture a middle-aged, chain-smoking male with a big rig tire stretched across his belling yelling profanities into his cell phone and think, Nah, that's not going to happen to me!

Now, imagine a picture you probably can relate to: a middle-aged, stay-at-home-mom, caring for several over-scheduled children who smokes (but not in front of the children) and drinks a glass or two of wine (or more but who's counting) at the end of the day so she can unwind.

Maybe you're not a stay-at-home-mom, but you're holding down a full-time job instead.

Regardless of the image particulars, do you know what these images have in common?

They're both examples of people living stressful lives, who are in serious danger of compromising their immune systems.

Good stress vs. Bad stress

So often stress is thought of negatively. It's frequently associated with feelings of anxiety, as happens just before you're going to give a speech before a crowd. Or with change, like when you're moving or when someone you love has died or while you're going through a divorce or even when you've got way too much on your plate.

But when it comes to the immune system, stress is the signal this system needs to start preparing for battle. The moment the immune system believes danger is imminent, such as when an injury is about to happen or when a virus has infiltrated one of the body's first lines of defence, stress hormones become stimulated and the number of stress hormone receptors increase.

This increase is what triggers the immune cells into action. The immune cells leave the bloodstream and travel to the affected tissues where they then deal with whatever organism is invading the body. When the immune cells are finished fighting, the number of stress receptors reverts back to normal. This is an example of what happens with acute stress, the "good" stress, and it's the type of stress the body's immune system was designed to manage.

Chronic stress on the other hand is bad. With chronic stress, your body is constantly stressed. As a result, stress hormones are constantly being released. Like they're supposed to do, the immune cells go out searching for something to fight but they aren't able to find anything to fight because the stress isn't being caused by an injury or a parasite or a virus. It's being caused by too much work, or feelings of depression or whatever else is causing constant stress.

Over time, the immune cells start to think that high levels of stress hormones are the new "norm" and they learn to adapt to these higher levels. Instead of preparing for battle when stress receptor levels are high, they don't react at all or they react with much less strength.

The immune system then becomes involved in somewhat of a "boy who cried wolf" scenario. With stress receptors constantly high, immune cells don't become stimulated, and if they do react at all, it's usually with less efficiency and effectiveness. What this means is that when disease and infections do occur, it takes your body's management longer to heal and recover from them.

You've got to learn to cope

If you feel stressed all the time, you need to learn ways to better cope with stress. Your immune system and your health depend on it. Too many people turn to high-fat/high-carb foods, smoking or alcoholic beverages as a way of coping with stress.

Doing so might seem right at the moment, but these actions only bring about a whole new set of problems within your body.

There are better ways of management. Learning deep breathing techniques, yoga and meditation may work for you, attending support groups, counting to 10, bike riding, running and avoiding confrontations are all positive steps you can take to deal with stress. And I also suggest looking into promising high quality supplements for immune system support management.

An example of such supplements is Immunitril(tm). Immunitril(tm) is an herbal supplement that may help boost your immune system especially during cold and flu season. You can find out more about Immunitril(tm) at select etailers like Amazon.com and the BODeStore.com.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to provide health advice and is for general information only. Always seek the insights of a qualified health professional before embarking on a health or fitness program.

Written by the V-Team courtesy Kamau Austin Publisher. The V-Team writes articles for the health and fitness enthusiast. Their timeless health and fitness tips are at the Fit After Forty Blog.

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