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How Does Stress Cause Illness?

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  • Essay length: 836 words
  • Submitted: 21/03/2005
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AS and A Level Healthcare

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How Does Stress Cause Illness?


Immune system - system that protects the body from viruses, diseases, etc.

White blood cells or Leucocytes - cells found in the immune system which fights the diseases.

Antigens - foreign bodies e.g. viruses

Antibodies - kills antigens

Suppress - put an end on the activity of or existence of; hold back

Immunosuppressive effects - something that suppresses the immune system

Endorphins - hormones which are body's natural painkillers

Pathogens - agents causing physical illness

Stress is said to increase the chance of someone becoming ill and there are two major ways in which stress can cause illness:

* Directly = by reducing the body's ability to fight illness.

* Indirectly = by leading the stressed individual to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle

e.g. increased smoking and drinking

Direct effects of stress on the immune system

This system acts like an army, identifying and killing any intruders to the body. It contains cells distributed throughout the body to fight diseases. These cells are called white blood cells (leucocytes) which identify and destroy foreign bodies called antigens. The

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