The Effects Of Stress On Health
Veterinarian Reviewed on January 9, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
The Effects of Stress on Health
Stress is defined as the body’s natural response to a physical or emotional stimulus. Stress in ideal amounts increases a person’s heart rate and increases their respiration making the heart muscles and the lungs stronger. Therefore, stress in moderation can be thought of to be healthy as it strengthens the heart and lungs.
A healthy to moderate amounts of stress is normal for the body to handle, but chronic stress can make the body succumb to physiologic illnesses and psychological problems. It is impossible however to live without stress, even children get stressed one way or another. Each person has a different response to certain levels of stress which can cause varying degrees of health issues.
Causes of Stress
1. Physical stressors– is any situation that makes the body strain using the many systems involved in movement such as the muscular, skeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Stress that is due to illnesses and various medical conditions can also bring physical stress to the body.
2. Emotional stressors – any life-changing event such as in the case of a lost loved one, a death in the family, a divorce, a failed relationship, a loss of property and many other situations that cause a huge impact on a person can cause moderate to severe stress.
3. Social stressors – the feeling of stress under circumstances such as loss of contact from family and friends, alienation, feelings of loneliness and feelings of not being able to fit in.
4. Spiritual stressors – are present when spiritual values and beliefs are altered. People who cannot perform or neglect their spiritual needs may also suffer from spiritual stress.
Symptoms of Stress
As mentioned, each person may have different responses to different stressors, however, some common emotional or mental responses to stress are irritability, tension, Insomnia, tiredness, inability to concentrate and Anxiety. Some common physical symptoms of stress are increased in heart beat, increased respiration, dry mouth, indigestion, abdominal pain, frequent urination, sweating, trembling and overly tight muscles.
Effects of Stress on Health
Minimal stress can be healthy. It improves cardiac function and respiratory health. This is true in physical fitness, exercise and cardio training. Severe stress can cause emotional problems, phobia, anxiety and Depression if not reduced. It may cause physiologic conditions such as Hypertension, insomnia, decreased appetite that may develop into nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal problems like ulcer formation, hyperacidity and colic. Stress must be managed as soon as possible to reduce complications.
Treatments of Stress
Here are some effective ways to manage stress:
1. Tune in to your body’s response to emotional and physical stress. Keep a journal of your stressors and your responses.
2. Carry out healthy alternative ways to reduce stress such as utilizing relaxation techniques, stress reduction techniques, participating in sports and other physical activities like hobbies and outdoor activities, and many other alternative remedies without the need to use medications.
3. Consult a specialist if necessary. A psychiatrist can help assess your condition and offer creative ways to reduce stress.
4. Join support groups for emotional and spiritual growth. Improving your response to stress can ultimately prevent side effects of stress and complications as well.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan