A new study points out that stressful ongoing events including ruminating on their occurrence causes a rise in the levels of a c-reactive protein. That protein is a marker of tissue inflammation and has been directly correlated with an increased presence related to continuous stress.
Dr. Peggy Zoccola, an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio University will present her research at the meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Miami, Fla.
Her team recruited healthy young women to participate in the project and were asked to provide a speech about their job potential to two interviewers in white laboratory coats. Half of the group was asked to think about their speech performance in the public speaking task, while the other half was asked to think about neutral images and activities.
The researchers then analyzed the levels of C-reactive protein in the blood of both groups and found that the c-reactive protein was significantly higher in those individuals who were asked to dwell on the speech and that the levels of the protein continued to rise for at least an hour after the speech.
C-reative protein is widely used as a clinical marker to determine if a patient has an infection, but also if he or she may be at risk for disease later in life.
“More and more, chronic inflammation is being associated with various disorders and conditions,” Zoccola said. “The immune system plays an important role in various cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease, as well as cancer, dementia and autoimmune diseases.”
The study study suggests that people who are experiencing chronic levels of high stress will be exposed to potential future health problems.
Ohio University (2013, March 13). Dwelling on stressful events can increase inflammation in the body. Science Daily.