Stress is the cause of more than fifty percent of visits to a doctor or a hospital for us. It affects a wide range of people, regardless of their age and social status. Stress becomes a worrying factor when it continues. It is because it can become a health risk. What is happening in the body when a person is under stress? Stress is a normal adaptive response of the body to stress and aggression that the body suffers. It triggers a series of reactions that allow the body to handle the situation and regulate the stress caused by the triggering event.
The process of stress involves two phases, namely, the alarm phase and the resistance phase. The body responds to the alarm phase by stimulating the adrenal glands so that they could release adrenaline and the body can react immediately. The blood pressure and cardiac rhythm increase, some muscles contract and glucose is released into the blood.
In the resistance phase, the body releases other hormones, including a hormone called cortisol which is involved in regulating the immune function, cardiovascular function and flow of blood, dopamine, the pleasure hormone, endorphins, the hormones for our wellbeing and serotonin, the sleep and compromise hormone. Once the stressful situation is reassured and controlled, a relaxation response snaps. After a period of rest the body returns to its natural state.
At times, stress makes you sick. Sometimes the stressful situation lasts longer or reoccurs frequently. In such a situation, the body enters the third stage, which is the stage of exhaustion. Hormones produced to handle stressful situations occur almost continuously costing the body with higher energies. Excess cortisol blocks the production of new neurons in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that affects mood), which could lead to depression.
Too much stress is the cause of failures of the immune system. In addition, the stress would be responsible for many ailments such as amenorrhea, insomnia and certain infections of the skin. It also aggravates certain diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
The personality of individuals affects their stress management. They are identified as two types of personalities, namely, Type A and Type B. Type A might suffer the harmful effects of stress because they are ambitious, aggressive, hardworking and eager. On the other hand, those of Type B would be relaxed and much more optimistic. Type A people have six times more likely to suffer from heart problems than people of type B.
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