Can Stress Cause Alzheimer’s?

Can Stress Cause Alzheimer’s?

Stress is a constant and completely normal reaction to almost everything you do. Persistent stress has been known to affect physical and mental health. While stress increases the risk for many illnesses, chronic stress can cause Alzheimer’s, in addition to other causes of this condition. Stress can cause Alzheimer’s by contributing to the development of the direct or indirect causes of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is a condition, commonly encountered by the elderly population as the aging process continues. In this condition a person’s ability to remember things, people and places is hampered. There are causes of Alzheimer’s; a person’s emotional state of mind, persistent stress and continued stressful situations in life can cause Alzheimer’s too.

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic, neurodegenerative disease, which usually worsens with time. This disease produces early symptoms like problems with language, mood swings, behavioral issues, and disorientation, and is the cause of 60% to 70% cases of dementia. The most common of the early symptoms of the Alzheimer’s disease is short-term memory loss. As most symptoms are related to chronic stress, it is possible that stress can cause Alzheimer’s.

Stress can cause Alzheimer’s, by contributing to factors that increase a person’s stress like car accidents, death of loved ones, separation, financial losses or serious health problems in family. Stress can slowly continue to affect a person, without their knowledge and cause changes in the way the person’s brain functions.

In Alzheimer’s a person’s memory, cognitive abilities and capacity to recognize familiar things, places or people gets affected. Impaired memory, difficulty with speech or communication and risk of falling can make them dependent and they need constant care. This again increases their stress and adds to the problems.

Stress can cause situations that can ultimately cause Alzheimer’s, as a person ages. But it is worth understanding that not all people develop this as they age. The fact that some people develop Alzheimer’s and some don’t, makes it important to understand that personal experiences, emotional states of mind and stress can cause Alzheimer’s, depending on the personality.

Can Stress Cause Alzheimer’s?

Stress and Alzheimer’s

Stress is inevitable in life and everybody experiences it. While some stress is necessary to keep us motivated, excess and continued stressful situations can damage our health. Our bodies can manage moderate amounts of stress but larger amounts of physical or mental stress tends to induce significant reactions to it in the body. Stress hormones necessary to cope with the stressful condition are released, which increase your breathing and heart rates. This may help you to survive during acute stress situation and cope with it better. However, when this continues for long, stress can cause long term effects and Alzheimer’s, can be one of those. Studies have shown that older people who have been diagnosed of Alzheimer’s, were known to have chronic stress for a long time in the past.

Chronic stress can harm your respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, muscular, reproductive, and immune systems, which increases risk of many illnesses including Alzheimer’s. Long standing stress can affect daily activities including decision-making, behavior and emotional state, which can contribute to Alzheimer’s in future. Stress can affect the immune system, cardio-respiratory and gastrointestinal system. Chronic stress also increases risk of muscular pain, headaches, sleep and diet irregularities and difficulty in cognitive abilities. These resultant problems are long term effects of stress, which can add to the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

How Can Stress Cause Alzheimer’s?

Apart from other health risks of chronic stress, stress can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. So, can stress cause Alzheimer’s? Studies have discovered that Alzheimer’s can be caused due to the long-term effects of chronic stress. Chronic stress is already known for causing a variety of serious health issues, and now stress can cause Alzheimer’s.

Truly, chronic stress seems to carry the potential to cause Alzheimer’s. When our bodies experience stress, our blood pressures rises, and so do the cortisol levels in blood. High levels of cortisol produced by chronic stress have been found to increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. High blood pressure, high cortisol levels due to stress can cause Alzheimer’s.

Once stress hormone, cortisol enters the brain, it begins killing brain cells, which can cause Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic stress and anxiety can trigger Alzheimer’s in some people. Stress can cause Alzheimer’s by contributing to the development of the direct or indirect causes of Alzheimer’s.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 3, 2018

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