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Stress: how stressed are we? This new self-test delivers exact results


New device shows your own stress level

Stress is unhealthy and favors numerous heart diseases and has a negative impact on the psyche. But what does that actually mean when someone says: "I am stressed." So far there is no real method for identifying a harmful stress level yourself. A simple self-test can now change this. An American research team is developing a simple test that shows the number of stress hormones in body fluids.

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati found a way to quickly and easily find out how stressed a person actually is. The easy-to-use test shows the number of stress hormones in sweat, blood, saliva or urine and thus provides a reliable first indication of whether your own stress level is hazardous to health. The study results were recently presented in the journal “American Chemical Society”.

New test reveals harmful stress

An American research group recently made a breakthrough in stress research. They developed a simple test that shows how stressed you are. The goal of the researchers is to develop a device that everyone can use at home to monitor their stress level so that they can get into expert hands in good time if the stress becomes a health hazard. All you need is a drop of blood, sweat, urine or saliva, because stress hormones can be found in all of these body fluids. The new device then uses ultraviolet light to measure the number of stress biomarkers in the body fluid.

Personal research becomes scientific research

Research director Professor Andrew Steckl got the idea for the stress test from a personal experience. When his father fell ill, he had to take him to the lab or doctor quite often to do various tests. "I thought it would be great if he could just do the tests himself to see if he was in trouble," Steckl said in a press release about the study results. He wants to save patients unnecessary journeys to the doctor and make necessary ones more visible.

Stress harms us in many ways

The lead author of the Prajokta Ray study underlines the many harmful effects on health that regularly result in high stress. "Many physical complaints such as diabetes, high blood pressure and mental disorders are attributed to stress," emphasizes the expert. Dealing with stress has become increasingly relevant in medicine in recent years. In addition to private use, the new test is also of great importance to people who are exposed to extreme loads, such as pilots. Such a stress test could give the ground control a feedback about the pilot's stress level. This means that you can intervene before the level reaches a critical level.

No substitute for a doctor's visit

"The stress test cannot replace a complete laboratory blood test," Steckl clarifies. This is also not the intention. The test is used to show users where they are and whether there have been changes in stress levels. "This test has the potential to become a strong commercial device," adds Ray. If the researchers' prognosis is correct, we will all soon be able to monitor our stress at home. Furthermore, the test would be a great help to find the personally best method for reducing stress. (vb)

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