Aged people and stress


Namiki M




Nippon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi


The subject of aged people and stress was discussed from both clinical and basic points of view, mainly by introducing our research results, beginning with our immunoneuroendocrine studies on aging and stress. Stress stimulates the secretion of two adrenal hormones, cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S). Both hormones are metabolized and excreted from the kidney, respectively converting to 17-OHCS and 17-KS-S in the urine. We have found that the two adrenal steroids reflect the physiology and pathophysiology of stress and aging, thereby suggesting that the simultaneous analysis of these parameters could be utilized as new biological markers for stress and aging. It was speculated that a disturbed balance between cortisol and DHEA-S would result in various aging- and stress-related disorders. Furthermore, clinical problems in aged people with stress-related diseases such as psychosomatic diseases, neurosis and depression were illustrated by some interesting cases. In particular, much data about peptic ulcer disease in the aged, a typical psychosomatic disease, were presented. In addition, clinical characteristics of old people with irritable bowel syndrome, aerophagia, neurogenic abdominal distention and depression were described. Data of our research to determine why pancreatic cancer is accompanied with depression so frequently were also presented. Finally, it was emphasized that a holistic approach, paying to sufficient attention to psychosomatic aspects, is very important for the management of stress diseases in the aged.