Health

Stress, anxiety make allergies worse

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 1, 2008

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Patients with allergic rhinitis are at increased risk of more severe symptoms if they also are experiencing stress and anxiety, according to data presented at the American Psychological Assn. in Boston last month.

Researchers performed skin prick tests on 28 participants with this condition and assessed their baseline anxiety levels. They also subjected them to the Trier Social Stress Test, which requires them to give a speech and solve math problems in front of an audience. Anxiety and stressful activities increased the size of the wheals produced by the skin prick test.

"The results of these studies should alert practitioners and patients alike to the adverse effects of stress on allergic reactions in the nose, chest, skin and other organs," said Gailen Marshall Jr., MD, PhD, one of the authors and professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Mississippi in Jackson.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2008/09/01/hlbf0901.htm.

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