Why does fibromyalgia often develop during a time of great stress?
Science: Nurses under great stress had higher pro-inflammatory cytokine (IL-8) levels than those under less stress.
Conclusion: Psychological stress can trigger fibromyalgia because stress increases the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
An increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines, especially IL-8, may be critical in the onset and progression of fibromyalgia.
It has been observed that up to about two-thirds of those with fibromyalgia report its initial onset in connection with a highly stressful event or period in their lives. Is there a connection between stress and pro-inflammatory cytokines?
What happens to trigger fibromyalgia during high stress times?
As per the study summarized below, psychological stress leads to an increase in IL-8, a major pro-inflammatory cytokine.
A significant role for IL-8 in the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia is suggested by the fact that most individuals with fibromyalgia report a worsening of symptom severity at times of significant psychological stress.
Stress assessment in acute care department nurses by measuring interleukin-8.
Summary of the Abstract
Cytokines, such as interleukin-8 (IL-8) have been shown to be related to depressive symptoms or inflammatory diseases.
The aim of this study was to assess whether urinary IL-8 levels could be used as an indicator of stress among acute care nurses. IL-8 levels in the urine would indicate higher IL-8 production and, as such, higher blood levels of IL-8.
Acute care nurses are believed to experience substantially greater stress than chronic care nurses. Therefore the IL-8 levels of the acute care nurses were compared with those found among chronic care nurses.
Urinary levels of IL-8 in 49 acute care nurses were compared with urinary levels of IL-8 among 69 chronic care nurses. The chronic care nurses acted as a ‘control’ in this experiment.
Urinary IL-8 levels among acute care nurses were substantially higher than those among chronic care nurses. Acute care nurses also reported a much higher level of psychological stress. IL-8 therefore appears to be an appropriate indicator of stress.