By now, the negative effects of stress are pretty well known. Stress can lead to skin breakouts, disrupted sleep and even weight gain. But in a massive study, researchers can now confirm that stress also increases the risk for autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.
The Swedish study was published in the journal, JAMA, last month. In it, close to 1 million people were observed over a 30-year period. While researchers were already aware of that stress can compromise immune function, they set out to discover whether life stressors can increase the risk for autoimmune diseases.
Researchers began with more than 100,000 individuals who were diagnosed with stress-related disorders, including PTSD. These subjects were matched with 1 million other individuals who had no stress disorder diagnoses.
What scientists discovered is that 30 to 40 percent of the individuals diagnosed with a stress-related disorder were also diagnosed with some form of autoimmune disease – 41 diseases to be precise.
Their research also found that the younger the subject was when diagnosed with PTSD, the greater their risk for autoimmune disease was.