By Muzamil Arif
Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain. Stress is your body’s response to anything that requires attention or action. Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body's reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. Stress is a very common problem being faced today. Every individual will experience stress in one or the other time.
Not all types of stress are harmful or even negative. Some of the different types of stress that you might experience include: Acute stress: Acute stress is a very short-term type of stress that can either be positive or more distressing; this is the type of stress we most often encounter in day-to-day life. Common causes of acute stress include noise, danger, crowding, or isolation.
Chronic stress: Chronic stress is stress that seems never-ending and inescapable, like the stress of a bad marriage or an extremely taxing job; chronic stress can also stem from traumatic experiences and childhood trauma. Common causes of chronic stress include financial problems, death of a loved one, long-term relationship issues, or having a demanding job or work schedule.
Episodic acute stress: Episodic acute stress is acute stress that seems to run rampant and be a way of life, creating a life of ongoing distress. Episodic acute stress is prevalent among those individuals whose lives are constantly chaotic and demanding. These individuals are always in a rush and tend to take on too many tasks at one time. Individuals who worry a lot are also prone to episodic acute stress.
Eustress: Eustress is fun and exciting. It's known as a positive type of stress that can keep you energized. It's associated with surges of adrenaline, such as when you are skiing or racing to meet a deadline.
Stress can be short-term or long-term. Both can lead to a variety of symptoms, but chronic stress can take a serious toll on the body over time and have long-lasting health effects.
Some common signs of stress include:-Changes in mood, Clammy or sweaty palms, Diarrhea, Difficulty sleeping, Digestive problems,Dizziness, Feeling anxious, Frequent sickness, Grinding teeth, Headaches, Low energy, Muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulders. Physical aches and pains, Racing heartbeat,Trembling etc.
CONSEQUENCES OF LONG-TERM STRESS:- A little stress every now and then is not something to be concerned about. Ongoing, chronic stress, however, can cause or exacerbate many serious health problems, including:
• Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
• Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke.
• Obesity and other eating disorders.
• Menstrual problems.
• Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature. ejaculation in men and loss of sexual desire in both men and women.
• Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss.
• Gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable colon.
STRESS AND CARDIO-VASCULAR SYSTEM.
Stressors may have profound inflammation especially in the coronary arteries and deleterious effect of cardiovascular system. Stressors activated the sympathetic nervous system and thus affect the function of the circulatory system. These activations initially lead to increase in the heart rate, venous narrowing, arterial vasodilation of skeletal muscles, and contraction of the splenic and kidneys’ arteries and thus decrease sodium excretion. In course of time, it has led to increased coronary vasoconstriction, atherosclerosis, and increased blood pressure. Chronical stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system also increased the risk of myocardial ischemia, cardiac arrhythmias, platelet aggregation, endothelial dysfunction and, finally, sudden death.
STRESS AND RESPIRATORY SYSTEM.
Many emotional and physical stressors increase the ventilation in humans such as excitement, fear, exposure to sudden and long-term cold, heat, hypoxia, and severe pain. Several clinical studies show that there is a strong relationship between lung disease and chronic anger. Acute stress causes many of distresses in respiratory system from rapid breathing and hyperventilation to shortness of breath. Acute stress could trigger asthma attacks but it has been reported that chronic stress aggravate asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.
STRESS AND REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM.
Acute stress and chronic stress cause several problems in female reproductive system, from menstruation, premenstrual syndrome, sexual desire, pregnancy to menopause. It has been shown that high levels of stress could be associated with absent or irregular menstrual cycles, more painful periods, and changes in the length of cycles. Also, the male sexual desire, reproduction, and diseases of the reproductive system are affected by the nervous system. Long-term and excessive cortisol releasing might affect the normal biochemical functioning of the male reproductive system. While the parasympathetic nervous system causes relaxation, the sympathetic nervous system activates sexual desire in males.
STRESS AND IMMUNE SYSTEM.
Stress stimulates the immune system, which can be a plus for immediate situations. This stimulation can help avoid infections and heal wounds. But over time, stress hormones will weaken our immune system and reduce body’s response to foreign invaders. People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes to recover from an illness or injury.
Stress weakens immune system. The connection between mind and body is often underestimated. But everyone has experienced a cold when they can least afford to. That’s because the high demands stress puts on the body make the immune system suffer, which makes you more vulnerable to colds and infections.
STRESS AND DIGESTIVE SYSTEM:-
Stress negatively affects our digestive system in many ways. It can cause a decrease in blood and oxygen flow to the stomach, cramping, an imbalance in gut bacteria and inflammation. These symptoms can further develop into gastro intestinal (GI) disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), irritable bowel disease (IBD), peptic ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
STRESS AND MUSCULAR SYSTEM.
The muscles our body get tensed when the body is undergoing a stressful encounter. With prolonged periods of stress, the muscles don’t get a chance to relax. Tight and tensed muscles cause body aches, neck and shoulder pain, and headaches.
(Authored by Mr. Muzamil Arif B.Sc Student from Govt Degree College Bhaderwah. Cont.-8493093796. E.Mail:- [email protected])