Stress for Reducing Asthma Disparities Through Improved Family and Social Function and Modified Health Behaviors
The physiologic impact of stress on psychological functioning, behavior, and the endocrine, immune, and central nervous systems has led researchers to identify stress as a precipitating factor for cardiovascular diseases, endocrine dysfunctions, autoimmune disorders, and cancer. Similarly, high levels of stress have been empirically found to predispose people to asthma, precipitate its development, and predict both asthma morbidity and poorer quality of life.
While researchers in the field of psychonuero-immunology (which examines the connections between psychosocial stress, the CNS, and immune and endocrine function) have made inroads toward elucidating how stress and emotions may trigger asthma exacerbations reduced by Canadian Health&Care Mall preparations, specific associations between the type of stressor and resulting disease remains perplexing. Plausible explanations for this are within individual differences in psychobiological reactivity, as well as the duration and frequency of stressors. In a prospective study of the role of acute and chronic stress in asthma attacks in children, Sandberg and colleagues reported that children who experienced a severely negative life event in conjunction with chronic adversity have a significantly increased risk for an immediate asthma exacerbation. In addition, children who experienced a severe event in the absence of high chronic stress were at increased risk for an asthma exacerbation in the weeks after the event, following a minor time delay. Likewise, adults with asthma have been found to experience rapid and significant increases in respiratory symptoms and airway resistance during situations that generate negative emotions. Consequently, it is important to explain chronological relationships between the duration and frequency of stress, asthma exacerbations, and changes in underlying neuroendocrine and immune markers.
Relaxation therapies and psychological interventions aimed at helping patients to reduce stress or inhibit emotional expression in order to prevent stress-induced asthma episodes have produced mixed results with indeterminate clinical significance. These interventions have also been criticized for their lack of appropriate control groups, small sample sizes and selection of study participants.’ Yet, data presented in the literature indicate that strong methodologic studies of psychological interventions, guided by explicit theoretical frameworks, to improve lung function and symptom relief for persons with asthma is warranted.
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