July 26, 2023/Daily Health Stories

Study Finds Stress Accelerates Aging of Immune System

A study finds people who experienced more stress showed signs of accelerated immune aging. A psychologist weighs in on the results.


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CLEVELAND – Stress is something we all experience from time to time, but chronic stress can lead to even more problems down the road.

“Research indicates that stress accelerates the aging process of your immune system. It’s like stepping on a gas pedal, making your body age faster than it normally would,” explained Susan Albers, PsyD, psychologist for Cleveland Clinic.

A study found people who experienced more stress showed signs of accelerated immune aging, which can potentially lead to an increased risk for chronic diseases.

Dr. Albers, who did not take part in the study, encourages people to find ways to manage their stress to help avoid long-term health problems.

She said people should set aside time each day for an activity to help with stress relief, like going for a walk.

Both regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet can boost your mood and immune system.

Dr. Albers added mandarin oranges are her go-to food for stress relief. The scent of citrus has been found to have a calming effect, and the vitamin C rich fruit also helps support a healthy immune system.

If you’re having trouble managing stress on your own, it may be time to reach out for help.

“Life is stressful,” she said. “But if stress is impacting your everyday functioning, changing your sleeping or eating habits, or you just don’t enjoy life anymore – it’s important to reach out to a professional for help.”

Dr. Albers said it’s also key to remember having some stress in your life is normal and can be a good thing.

It can motivate you to meet a deadline at work or accomplish other goals.

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