Stress and Chronic Disease

“Without mental health, there can be no true physical health,” says psychiatrist Dr. Jon-Paul Khoo.

A critical factor influencing mental and physical health? Stress.

“The common risk factor for 75-90% of human disease is stress,” Khoo reported at the April 2021 Pillars of Health Community Forum, hosted by CrossFit Neuro in Brisbane, Australia.

CrossFit Neuro is home to one of the world’s first in-hospital CrossFit affiliates, founded by brain and spinal neurosurgeon Dr. David Johnson.

The Pillars of Health Community Forum was an open-forum community seminar focused on the four pillars of its namesake: quality movement, sleep, nutrition, and stress management.

In addition to promoting psychiatric disorder, severe or chronic stress increases the chance of developing metabolic syndrome by 50%, Khoo explains.

The good news is that it’s reversible.

In his presentation, Khoo explains how a non-pharmacological approach to stress management — focused on healthy nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and good mental-health hygiene — can undo stress’ ill effects.

“It reduces inflammation,” he says. “It reverses a lot of stress-related physiological changes.”