Monday, February 28, 2011

Stress: what does it do to your health?

Effects of stress on the body.Image via Wikipedia
Most people know that too much stress is bad for health.  Psychological illness such as depression, PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome) and anxiety are often well known ailments attributed to its adverse effects.  Researchers are now finding and documenting the fact that many disease can be directly related to the after effects of stress.

Let's take a look at the latest results of studies and the effects that it has on our health.

What is Stress?

According to "stress is the emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from the outside world. Common stress reactions include tension, irritability, inability to concentrate, and a variety of physical symptoms that include headache and a fast heartbeat." We need a certain amount of stress during the course of our everyday lives, but it is the sustained and constant bombardment of stress, with the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, norephineprine and noradrenaline that proves detrimental to health. Ongoing stress and release of these chemicals can result in diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes.cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

Study results

According to Dr. Jay Adlersberg's article, "Studies related to PTSD, cancer and words" unexpected trauma can leave us with side effects that could last a lifetime.  This is not really a new concept, but recent studies confirm that people can be left with anxiety and nightmares and emotionally shattered lives.  People who had suffered such an event had a gene chemical, pacap, that could be measured in the blood. This chemical, pacap, affects the brain's response to stress. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute estimates that 7 million Americans suffer from PTSD, which can be brought on after a personal tragedy, natural disaster or war.
Previous studies have shown that within 12 - 18 months of a traumatic events,individuals may suffer the physical manifestation of stress through  an illness.  The more significant the stress, the more severe the illness.

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