Does Stress Make You Sick?
We do not have any definite evidence that stress makes us sick. We believe that stress might be one of causes of several maladies we suffer. The followings are records of our findings on around 2,000 seniors.
A man, factory worker, at 65 years old, was healthy and never suffered from any severe illnesses. Daily complains of just simple stiff neck or tiredness to his wife and four children, probably caused by daily stress at a cottage factory of bicycles. One evening, he complained about his stomachaches. He was rushed to a neighboring clinic and X-rayed. He was diagnosed with stomach ulcer. His boss notified him that he would be terminated from the company at the age of 66 years old as the city's ordinance.
A chemical engineer who was working at the largest pharmaceutical company as a branch manager in Japan for almost 45 years. Heavy stress was on him every day holding hundreds of his men at work. However, he was a healthy man and had a well-built body and daily stresses were gone out of a shot of Japanese wine with his wife at a dinner table. One afternoon, he was handed a note from the management for the mandatory retirement at 65 years old. He was not able to drink even a shot with his wife. Suddenly, he became a different man. He does not talk, he does not smile, and he does not do anything. His wife was very worried and called a doctor. He was brought to his company hospital and diagnosed with melancholia (suffering from depression).
A 54 years old woman and an employed fish vendor in the market, both have 25 years of experience in the same market with her. Both of them are healthy and never got sick. But they were poor with a lot of daily stress in the market. Their dream was to have their own store, but they did not have enough cash to buy a store. About a year ago, they won a lottery and built a neat house near the market, and they decided to buy a store for fish vending. Both of them were just relaxing in the new house. There's no more stress at all. Suddenly, she feels pain in the shoulder. She was diagnosed with frozen shoulder. Aside from it, she also suffers from arthritis and all her black hair turned gray. She felt that she was being bewitched by jealous neighbors. She is now afraid to be a fish vendor anymore.
80% of retirees during the past year 2000 have similar history of such sufferings when they learned of their retirement. Sudden changes of works or atmosphere in life may have something to do with stress and stimulation of nervous system with brain waves. When stress is caused by daily work, stimulation of the body system by the brain wave is good, thus they retain healthy body. However, when heavy stress is gone, there comes the relaxation of mind. The brain may then forget to emit proper wave to stimulate the nervous system around the body. That's where you may get sick.
The above is not a definite answer to conclude the causes of maladies for elderly people, but can you not agree that similar to the above data are happening around the civilized world.
It's not a surprise for elderly people who do works have a lower risk of developing diseases compare to those who suddenly stop working. Thinking or stress may somehow protect the brain, increasing good waves or signals to the nervous system. Meaning, daily works or daily stress may act as a brain stimulator, because stress seems to prevent some maladies from appearing.
On the other hand, there are also cases of stress that creates some sorts of illness, mostly mental fatigue caused by overwork.
A cancer specialist in Yodogawa, Osaka, who lived near my office 17 years ago, was a known doctor in Yodogawa. Hundreds of patients commute to his well-known clinic. From early morning till late at night, he had works to satisfy his countless number of patients. One afternoon, he saw a suicide news on TV. The victim jumped from his 7th floor clinic and died. According to the news, one day, he felt pain in his chest and coughed. He was examined at the Osaka General Hospital and diagnosed with lung cancer. As a cancer specialist, he knew how cancer patients have suffered and died. This kind of stress that the victim was not able to endure, and decided to commit suicide to end his sufferings. What kind of stress is it?
There is a simple stress and severe stress. Without stress, we easily get sick. With severe stress, we easily get sick. We need stress just enough for our brain to work well and stimulate our body cells. I believe that is how stress keeps you healthy.