Srinagar : Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Sunday said fear is taking a heavy toll on people’s health than the virus itself. “Fear is putting people at greater risk of developing physical and mental health issues,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement. “Fear causes stress and when we have stressed the hormones cortisol and adrenaline increase and they suppress the effectiveness of the immune system. The suppression of immune system leaves the body vulnerable to disease and infection,” he said. Dr Nisar said if you have an intact immune system, you will get over the novel virus, but with fear, you are at risk of developing a severe disease. “With weakened immunity, you are also susceptible to other viral and bacterial infections,” he added. Dr Nisar said studies have shown that stress increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. “The stress hormones narrow the blood vessels, and make the blood stickier and thicker and increases the likelihood of blood clotting,” he said adding that “stress makes other risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol worse.” Dr Nisar said we are seeing a lot of functional gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome nowadays, and stress is the factor. He said there has been a tremendous aggravation in people with pre-existing mental health issues like anxiety and depression. “We have found a high rate of relapse of mental health issues in patients who were completely cured and were off the medicine.” “Even those without any history of mental health issues have started suffering from anxiety, restlessness and sleep disorders,” he added. “We have seen people coming with respiratory problems, though their lung functions are perfectly normal. The delusion of being infected is leading to respiratory issues – which is psychological,” said Dr Nisar.