Apr 07, 2014 10:27 AM EDT
Highly sensitive people who suffer from chronic stress are more likely to experience heightened allergy symptoms, according to an Ohio State University study. Researchers said that stress could be one of the reasons why symptoms of allergy sufferers deteriorate.
"Stress can cause several negative effects on the body, including causing more symptoms for allergy sufferers," allergist Amber Patterson, MD, lead study author and ACAAI member, said in a press release. "Our study also found those with more frequent allergy flares also have a greater negative mood, which may be leading to these flares."
For the study, the researchers observed 179 patients for 12 weeks. About 39 percent of the patients suffered more than one allergy episode. The researchers observed elevated stress levels in this group when compared to the group without allergy symptoms. Out of the 39 percent of patients, 64 percent endured more than four episodes in two, 14 day periods.
Although researchers could not establish a relationship between allergy episodes and stress on the same day, several patients reported allergy symptoms within days of higher stress.
"Symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes can cause added stress for allergy sufferers, and may even be the root of stress for some," said Patterson. "While alleviating stress won't cure allergies, it may help decrease episodes of intense symptoms."
Researchers said that the key to have lesser intense seasonal sniffles is to remain calm, composed and relaxed.
Allergy sufferers can reduce stress through mindfulness meditation; yoga; diaphragmatic breathing; frequent interaction with a social worker, family, friends or colleague; not smoking or drinking caffeine; engaging in fun-filled and relaxation sessions; and choosing a lifestyle with healthy diet and good sleeping habits.
Allergist James Sublett, MD, said that patients can also relieve stress and allergy symptoms by approaching board-certified allergist for specialized treatment plans.
"We know there's a connection between our neurology and our immunology," Patterson said. "What we ultimately found is that some people with allergies have a more sensitive neuro-immunologic trigger,"Prevention reports.
Previous studies showed stress is found to worsen eczema among other diseases
The finding is published in the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy.
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