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Shivani Acharya

Effect of Stress on our Health

21 July 2021

Although we all know what it means to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with the pressure faced by stress, it is surprisingly difficult to define what “stress” is. Stress is our body's response. This response that the body creates plays a major role in causing an effect of stress on your health.

You're stuck in a traffic jam, arriving late for an important meeting and watching the minutes go by. Your hypothalamus, a small control tower in your brain, decides to send the command: send out the stress hormones! These are the same stress hormones that trigger your body's fight or flight response. Your heart is racing, your breath is racing and your muscles are ready for action. This response is intended to guard your body in an associate degree emergency by making it ready for a fast response. Shooting every day can seriously harm your health. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) researchers study how the immune system and nervous system interact and affect people's mental and emotional health. Many studies aim to examine the effects of the immune and nervous systems.


“It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.” –Hans Selye


Stress is a natural psychological and physical response to life experiences. Everyone feels pressure from time to time. From daily work, due to important life events (such as a new diagnosis, war, or death of a loved one), anything can bring stress. In immediate and short-term situations, stress may benefit your health. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones, which increase your heart rate, breathing rate and prepare your muscles. If your stress response persists and your stress level continues to rise beyond the time needed to survive, your health may be affected. Chronic stress can cause many symptoms and affect your overall health.


Stress on a situation or life event is a so-called "stressor". What counts as a "stressor" may vary. It differs from person to person, and also to our social and economic environment, the environment in which we live, our genetic structure, and our physiology. Some common characteristics of stressors are experiencing something new or unexpected, something that threatens your competition/self, and a feeling of poor control of the situation. When we are under pressure an important signaling pathway in our body and brain, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, is stimulated to release stress hormones (cortisol and catecholamines) that trigger the fight or flight response. Our immune system is also activated, ready for possible harm. This process helps us react quickly to dangerous situations. Sometimes a stress response may be appropriate or even useful. Feeling the "stress" of a stress response can help us overcome stress or stressful situations, such as running a marathon or giving a speech in front of many people. In a crowd we can walk fast if our stress level is short-lived, then we return to a normal state that has no negative impact on our health the so-called "steady-state baseline". Many people can withstand a certain degree of stress without long-term side effects sometimes called "Resilience" varies from person to person, depending on their genes, experience, and environment.


Chronic symptoms of stress include

· irritability

· anxiety

· depression

· headaches

· insomnia


The Physical effect of stress

Our bodies are properly prepared to address pressure in small doses, however, while that pressure will become long-time period or chronic, it may have critical outcomes for your body. The physical effect of stress on our body parts are mentioned below:


1. Musculoskeletal system

The muscles tend to tense up when the body is under stress. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress; the body protects itself from injury and pain. In the case of sudden stress, the muscles tense up all at once and then let go of their tension again, if chronic stress causes the muscles of the body to be in a more or less constant state of caution, other body reactions, and even promote stress-related disorders. Both tension headaches and migraines, for example, are associated with chronic muscle tension in the shoulder, neck, and head area. Musculoskeletal pain in the lower back and upper extremities has also been linked to stress, particularly work stress.


2. Respiratory and cardiovascular systems

Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During your stress response, your breathing rate becomes faster to help the oxygenated blood around your body circulate faster. If you already have breathing problems, such as asthma or emphysema, stress can make breathing more difficult. Under pressure, your heart will also work faster. Stress hormones make your blood vessels constrict and deliver more oxygen to your muscles, thereby making you more active. But it also increases blood pressure. Therefore, frequent or prolonged stress can cause your heart to work too long. When your blood pressure rises, your risk of stroke or heart disease also rises.


3. Digestive system

Under stress, your liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to provide you with energy. When you are under chronic stress, your body may not be able to process the extra glucose release. Chronic stress can increase your risk. Type 2 diabetes: Hormonal surges, shortness of breath, and fast heartbeat can also disrupt your digestive system. Because of stomach acid, you are more likely to experience heartburn or acid reflux. (A bacterium called H. pylori often does this), but it increases the risk of infection and the development of existing ulcers. Stress can also affect the flow of food in your body, leading to diarrhea or constipation. You may also feel unwell, vomiting, or stomach pain.


4. Immune system

Stress can strengthen the immune system, which may be beneficial in acute situations. This stimulation can help you to heal wounds. But over time, stress hormones weaken your immune system and reduce your body's response to invaders. You are more susceptible to viral diseases such as flu and colds and other infections. Stress can also increase recovery time from illness or injury.

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