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Stress and its effects on Health

stress

Let us first understand what stress is and how it affects our health. Everyone’s life has ups and downs. Stress is also a part of it. Normally everyone has stress but all have different handling capacity and techniques to remove the stress from one’s life.

Let’s look at some of causes of stress;

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  • If we don’t get what we expect in our life, stress comes because both body and our brain don’t like changes.
  • If there is a challenging situation and we can’t complete the task, we feel stressed.
  • Anxiety is common if there is work pressure in jobs like corporate or  academics, etc.
  • If there is financial responsibility and issues which come all of a sudden, we may feel stressed out.
  • If there are any problems in social life, love life or married life, it leads to stress.
stress

Types of Stress:

Basically, there are 2 types of stress. One is temporary and the other is chronic or long term stress.

Many people can handle stress very smoothly and come out of it after a few moments or a few days. This is termed as temporary stress. But some people cannot handle stress and they become emotionally depressed, which often leads to clinical(chronic) depression or anxiety.

Physiology:

We as humans have a master controller termed the Nervous system. There are two parts:

  1. CNS– Central Nervous System which includes brain and spinal cord
  2. PNS– Peripheral Nervous System which is made up of nerves and nerve cells.

PNS has one major component called Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which regulates our physiological process like respiration, blood pressure, heart- pulse rate, digestion and sexual drive also.

3 subdivisions of ANS:

  1. SNS– Sympathetic Nervous System which represents fight and flight.
  2. PSNS– Parasympathetic Nervous System which represents calm and rest.
  3. ENS– Enteric Nervous System which is the brain of the digestive system also called second brain.

Within our brain, the Hypothalamus regulates Autonomic Nervous System. The “fight or flight” response follows a specific and unique path.

When the brain perceives a dangerous situation, one of our sensory systems signals to the hypothalamus for alert and immediate response through a pituitary gland that produces 2 chemicals and hormones named “Adrenaline” and “Cortisol”.

In addition, When we feel anxiousness, nervousness and our body is getting ready for a particular event, then an “adrenaline rush” can happen. When adrenaline is elevated in our body, heart rate and pulse rate increases and blood pressure shoots up.

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone. It is the director of the inner world. Normal level of cortisol is released when we wake up in the morning. These normal levels can help us in regulating blood sugar level, blood pressure, and boost the immune system.

According to our circadian rhythm( body’s inner clock), from 7.30 am to 10.30 am in the morning, cortisol releases and produces the highest alertness to our brain. As the day progresses cortisol level decreases. But, if too much cortisol, it is harmful for our body. If we are high on stress then the body might release cortisol continuously.

Too much cortisol increases glucose level in the bloodstream and enhances our brain’s use of glucose from our liver for fast and instant energy. Due to chronic stress, our body releases cortisol after flight or fight hormones(adrenaline) which can raise blood pressure by constricting our blood vessels.

Hope this article has helped you understand the basics of “Stress and its effects on health”.

Do stay tuned for more details on the same topic where I am going to cover the negative impact of stress on our health and share your thoughts in the comment section. If you find this post helpful do share it with others.

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Dr.Hetal Patel

Admin

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