In the modern world, the pace of life has accelerated as never before. This is especially acute in metropolitan areas: everyone is in a hurry, hurry, are late. To be considered a competitive worker, you must always be focused, efficient and effective. Our body could not react to such serious changes, and therefore it is not surprising that stress is called the disease of the 21st century. For clarity, we turn to statistics. Worldwide, 77% of people regularly experience physiological and psychological symptoms associated with stress. As many as 54% of people admit that this disease is the main cause of constant conflicts with loved ones. Each of us knows from our own experience how badly stressful can affect not only our health, work capacity, but also relationships with relatives and relatives.
Most of us faced with the law: during a heavy workload or study, it is especially easy to pick up any illness. Why is this happening and how does stress affect immunity?
To begin with, it should be noted: despite the fact that the concept of “stress” causes most people’s negative associations, it can be harmless to our body. In addition – useful! Stress is necessary for us to survive, to adapt. It is the mechanisms of response to stress that are laid down in our body, and help us find a way out of difficult situations, come up with solutions to problems, adapt to new changes. But how stress affects the immune system depends, first of all, on its intensity and duration.
In general, there are two types of stress: sharp, eustress, and chronic, it is also called distress. Eustres is a kind of “good” stress. It activates the functional reserves of the body, promotes adaptation and, in the end, eliminates the stress itself. Eustres is short, due to which the body activates its systems for “preservation of life”, but does not have time to exhaust them, therefore the eupestra does not have a deleterious effect. Distress is “harmful” stress, which results in the exhaustion of the body’s defenses and the mechanisms of adaptation, the body weakens, which leads to the development of various diseases.
And now consider the more detailed mechanisms of stress on our immunity. Since the influence of the stimulus on the body, a number of hormones, which according to their structure and mechanism of action are divided into two groups: corticosteroids (cortisol, glucocorticoids) and catecholamines (adrenaline, norepinephrine). Our body reacts more quickly to the action of catecholamines, as a result of which we immediately experience increased perspiration, loss of appetite, rapid heartbeat and breathing. However, the effect of corticosteroids lasts longer, despite the fact that the effect of them appears later. Releasing these hormones of stress causes changes in the functioning of immunity. From now on, for him the main task is to preserve the vital functions and integrity of the organism.
What exactly changes occur in our immune system? First, the redistribution of leukocytes in the body is carried out. Leukocytes are protective cells of immunity, they are also called white blood cells. They absorb in themselves and split foreign cells, destroy cells of malignant tumors, thus providing protection to the body. Redistribution of leukocytes occurs from the blood to the skin, thereby increasing the skin cellular immunity. This is necessary in order to protect our body from the penetration of pathogenic bacteria through the skin. In contrast, there is a decrease in the level of leukocytes in the spleen and peripheral blood, so the immune function in these systems is weakened. So our body sacrifices the possibility of developing a strong immune response in order to protect us from the infection with microorganisms.
Secondly, there is a mass migration of B-lymphocytes and their distribution in all systems of the organism. B-lymphocytes are cells of the immune system that are responsible for recognizing foreign agents (microorganisms, viruses) in the body and synthesizing antibodies, special proteins, which ensure the destruction of these agents. Also, B-lymphocytes are memory cells: if the human body is infected by the same microorganism for the first time, then it is B-lymphocytes that provide an instant reaction, because they “remember” that the antibodies destroyed the foreign bacteria of the past.