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Stress/Immunity
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Stress/Immunity

I have read that stress can have a powerful impact on the immune system. That it can lower white blood cells, and make you more vulnerable to diseases...even cancer! I have also read stress can do much more. I have stressed for many years, even as a kid...I am currently 18 by the way, and am worried about my health.

My question is....HOW MUCH more likey is there a chance of something serious happening to yourself such as cancer or other diseases?(is it really that serious). Or is it something that shouldn't be worried about all that much?

Thank You!
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Try not to worry.  I've had anxiety since I was twelve and I was almost always very healthy.  When I was your age, I had perfect health except for the anxiety.  Stress can lower the immune system, but at only eighteen, unless you're immunocompromised, you have a very strong immune system and it's highly doubtful that you're going to get anything at all.  It's always good to eat a healthy diet, though, low in fat and simple carbs, no caffeine, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.  Fresh fruits and vegetables can help protect against cancer due to their antioxidant effects.  Oatmeal and flaxseed might protect against colon cancer.  You're too old for childhood cancers and too young for some others, but starting a healthy diet at any age is just good sense.

No, you shouldn't be worried at your age.  Take a deep breath and enjoy the fact that you're eighteen and just resolve to stay healthy and fit all your life.

Good luck to you.
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Wow Thanks for the advice! Umm..what if the stress was very severe over those years? Would that matter?
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No, not at your age.  Maybe in an older person, someone over thirty-five or forty, even fifty, maybe, but in an eighteen-year-old, no it wouldn't.

I'd just exercise daily, eat a healthy diet, avoid fats and cholesterol, get adequate sleep, and take up meditation or some relaxation technique.  If you feel you need medication, then see a doctor.  Sometimes a little anti-anxiety medication can change your life.  You have probably at least seventy years left to live and you don't want them to be filled with anxiety.  You want to enjoy them to the fullest.

Relax.  (I know it's easier said than done, though.)  You are fine and going to be fine. :)
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ive had stress all my life and am still here it can lower your b-12 just had mine checked and it was low but thats about it , try not worry enjoy life
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Wow thank's for the encouraging words. I was just worried because I have been stressed/and had anxiety pretty much on a daily basis and it seemed severe to me. But thank you for the advice.
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Avatar_f_tn
There is a difference between stress and anxiety.  What is most damaging is the "type A" stress i.e. people always having deadlines they feel they cannot fulfill, perfectionist where everything has to be totally perfect or they feel like failures.  With this constant stress your stress hormones are in overflow and that is bad on your body.  Being Type A is the worst kind of stress.

My mother was under severe stress, but never had a panic attack or anxiety. she was very brave, never was afraid or alerted about a symptom or a new symptom, but went to the doctor to have it checked out and went on with her life.  She died of cancer at age 46.  The doctor said that he thinks (nobody ever knows for sure what causes cancer) that due to her severe stress in her life her immune system was shot, and she could've had that cancer simmering inside her body for 15 yrs before it came to the surface.
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Antioxidants can help prevent cancer cells from becoming "turned on."  It's important to have your five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day and talk to a doctor or nutritionist about what vitamins and food are good "cancer fighters."  They can also advise you on which ones boost the immune system.  At eighteen, you are fine.  Please don't worry.  Just live a healthy life.  Eat right, take your vitamins, avoid trans fats and saturated fats, and exercise at least thirty minutes five or six days a week.  And most importantly, don't smoke!  Ever.
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Ok thanks for the info Buckeye I guess I'll take your advice. It seems as though Barbarella has a different opinion on the subject.
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Avatar_f_tn
Even if you were running from one high stress job to another high stress job and checking your stock investments ten times a day, and having one "power meeting" after another, at eighteen, you'd be fine.  You might be a little nervous, and you should definitely cut back on the stress and relax, but you'd be fine.  To protect yourself as you get older (into your thirties and forties and beyond), eat right, take vitamins, get at least five servings of fruits and vegetable a day (preferably fresh, they fight cancer), limit fats, eat fatty fish twice a week or take Omega-3 fatty oil capsules (unless you have a shellfish allergy) exercise, never smoke, do something relaxing each day like yoga, meditation, exercise, listening to relaxing music, taking a walk, and use protection when having sex.  You'll be fine.  Just relax.  You are fine.
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