Stress and Autoimmune Disorders

Hormonal, environmental, genetic, and immunological factors are all important considerations in autoimmune diseases. Approximately 50% of all trigger factors are unknown. “Many retrospective studies found that a high proportion (up to 80%) of patients reported uncommon emotional stress before disease onset.” It is felt that stress triggers neuroendocrine hormones leading to immune deregulation thereby causing an alteration of cytokine production. Cytokines can cause inflammation or reduce inflammation.

Here are some tips on how to minimize the impact that stress has on your life:

1. Try to identify the things in your life that cause you stress. Once you identify and understand how these stressors affect you, you can begin to figure out ways to change your environment and manage them.

2. Take control and solve the problem. For example, try to impose limits on the things that cause you stress and/or learn to say “no.”

3. For stressors that cannot be changed, try joining a support group, or engage in wellness activities such as meditation and gentle exercise. There are online resources for self-study meditation programs. Seek a healthcare professional such as your Family Physician to guide you in the right direction.


Evelyn Gilkinson is the Nurse Lead for Charlton Health Inc. Before devoting herself solely to Infusing Biologics, Gilkinson worked at Toronto General Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre (Adelaide, Australia), and the London Health Science Centre in Thoracic Step Down, neonate, pediatric and adult Intensive Care, Recovery Room, and Emergency Medicine. Evelyn has done research for The Canadian Cervical Spine Study and with the AIM Health Group. She established the first out-of Hospital Infusion Centres in London and Waterloo. For the last twelve years, Evelyn was the Nurse Supervisor for South Western Ontario for many infusion sites until joining the Charlton team in the summer of 2016.

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