Stress Leads to Higher Risk of Autoimmune Diseases, According to New Study

The study found that people with stress disorders were 46 percent more likely to contract an autoimmune disease.

Johner Images/Getty Images
Johner Images/Getty Images

Researchers have gathered more information regarding the connection between stress disorders and autoimmune diseases. A new study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and the University of Iceland found that PTSD and other stress-related disorders can lead to a higher chance of contracting an autoimmune disease.

Other researchers have found similar results, but much of the research has been limited to PTSD related to military service. For this study, over the course of ten years, researchers sampled more than 100,000 people with stress-related disorders, their siblings, and over 1 million other people from the population who do not have PTSD.

The results were telling. People with a stress disorder were 46 percent more likely to get an autoimmune disease. Furthermore, the chance of developing three or more autoimmune diseases was more than twice as high for individuals with PTSD.

Autoimmune diseases cause healthy cells to be targeted by the body’s immune system, leading to additional health problems. This study is yet another reminder of how impactful stress can be in all areas of life and how vital proper treatment is. 

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