Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stress, Anxiety Worsen Response to Allergens

(HealthDay News) -- Even a little stress and anxiety can greatly worsen and extend a person's reaction to common allergens, a new study says.

The finding, to be presented Thursday at the American Psychological Association annual meeting, in Boston, are important, as allergies are the fifth-most-common chronic disease in the United States. The researchers estimated that Americans pay more than $3.4 billion for allergy medications and allergy-related doctor visits annually, and lose about 3.5 million work days a year because of them.

"Allergies are not minor problems," researcher Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State, said in a news release issued by the university. "A huge number of people suffer from allergies and, while hay fever, for example, is generally not life-threatening, allergy sufferers often also have asthma, which can be deadly."

The study looked at 28 volunteers with a history of hay fever and seasonal allergies. Researchers gave standard allergy prick tests to the volunteers, then measured the raised "wheals" that formed on the arms of the participants before and after they were subjected to stressful situations, such as given a speech and answering a series of math questions. They were tested again the next day as well. Read more...

AyurGold for Healthy Blood

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