Health & Fitness

Constant stress increases risk of death from cancer: study

Yet another study has shown the detrimental effects stress can have — not only on the human mind but the human body as well.

A team of researchers from the Medical College of Georgia reported in the journal SSM Population Health that continued stress can increase the risk of fatal cancer.

When the body is stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol. Once the stress is over, the levels of cortisol normally go down. However, “ongoing psychosocial stressors” lead to chronic or constant stress meaning the cortisol levels never go down.

As a result, the hormone can harm the body majorly, explained epidemiologist, Dr Justin Xavier Moore, in a media release.

With his team, Moore studied these negative effects on more than 41,000 people, collecting data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which includes details from 1988 to 2019.

The database has records of different measures of participants like body mass index, diastolic and systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and haemoglobin.

They compared this data to data from National Death Index, picking people who had died of cancer.

Despite all other factors, the team found that people with higher stress load were 2.4 times likelier to die of cancer.

Moore noted that if there were two 20-year-old friends, the one with more stress or allostatic load which is “the cumulative burden of chronic stress and life events”, was more likely to suffer from cancer than the other friend.

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