Sunday, July 22, 2012

The influence of stress on health


It is common understanding of the concept of stress as something annoying or worrying us - sickness, strife, violence, problems at work, take the exam .... But our body perceives stress, the term more broadly. Stress is anything that requires us to adjust, any change in our life circumstances, favorable or unfavorable nature. Even the imagination (thought) or the anticipation of change (emotion) create stress.Stress and physical exertion such as long walking, carrying heavy objects, sudden changes in temperature or a large meal.

Stress (from Eng. Stress) literally means blow. The circumstances that cause stress are called stressors, and ("kicker"). The concept of stress in the narrow sense it means the body's response to the action of external stressors. When the "stress builds up," the man becomes ill: it may feel chronically tired or exhausted, can suffer from insomnia or excessive need for sleep; may lose appetite, sexual desire and the ability to enjoy life, can not reach depression, anxiety, attacks of crying and panic, obsessions, phobias ..


Stress begins in the mind or emotions. The very thought of discomfort leads to a cascading sequence of biochemical reactions that start in parts of the brain as a markup hypothalamus and pituitary gland, and whose end result of stimulation of the adrenal gland and increased secretion of adrenaline. Only seconds later, a heart and breathing rhythm is strongly accelerated, strained muscles, wider pupils, and released glucose deposited in liver and muscle. At the same time leads to activation of the pancreas, as well as the production of insulin and glucagon, in order to equip cells of the body enough glucose.

Excessive activity axis hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal cortex leaves a strong impact on the function of the thyroid and ovaries. Along with CRF (corticotropin Realising factor) - the hormone that stimulates the pituitary gland to make the crust the adrenal glands, and prolactin secretion hipotamus popularly called the stress hormone. Prolactin has potent inhibitory effect on the production of TSH (thyrotropin) - a hormone that allows proper thyroid function and disrupts the secretion of GnRH (gonadotropin Realising hormone) - hormone that regulates the control of secretion of FSH (follicle hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone), hormones that are responsible for the proper function of the ovaries.

Besides the effects on the production of GnRH, prolactin pulsation disrupts the secretion of FSH and LH, it is necessary for proper ovulation and prevents the proper function of the corpus luteum of the ovary.The result of such a prolactin action is not merely the absence of ovulation, but also irregular ovarian function imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, and a number of irregularities of the menstrual cycle, such as pre-and postmenstrualni spotting - spotting brownish bleeding before and after menstruation, mastopathy, PMS.

If our bodies are exposed to excessive stress or too long, the centers of the brain become congested unpleasant messages transmitted by stress hormones and resulting lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin, dopamine and noraderenalina, who are responsible for our general well-being. Serotonin (5-HT) is responsible for the feeling of tranquility and protection, life optimism, and provides a healthy sleep. Together with melatonin regulates the "biological clock", which maintains the normal rhythm of sleep and wakefulness. Defective serotonin system is associated with insomnia, fatigue and sleepiness at the wrong time of day, and anxiety and fear. The most important role of noradrenaline is to provide energy, will, enthusiasm and motivation, without a sufficient amount of noradrenaline feel fatigue, lethargy, passivity and indifference. The effect of dopamine is closely connected with the endorphins, substances important for pain relief. At low levels of dopamine, a lost sense of pleasure, and a lower threshold of sensitivity to pain

Seven out of ten people find their lives stressful, and entering the new millennium seems to be living even more accelerated pace. A growing number of poor people sleep, wake up anxious, to come to work tired, upset at work, returns home upset traffic. Unlike our ancestors, whose stress was primarily physical nature, stress 21st century is mostly mental, and emotional.


Stress at work, creates the conditions for stroke and heart attack, destroying the mental health and shortens life. Ten years ago the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared stress in the workplace worldwide epidemic, and since the stress at work increased further due to the global crisis deepened and unemployment. Burn out syndrome means a state of complete emotional exhaustion due to excessive and wasteful effort at work. Burnout at work is similar to chronic fatigue syndrome, but without changing the attitude towards work, which is characteristic of fatigue.

One of the most common causes of workplace stress, however, represent relationships. Stress due to poor interpersonal relationships, and describes the concept of bullying, which means psihoteror workplace for employees to spend their colleagues. Basically, the most common conflict for some reason, after starting his intrigues, tricks, humiliation and isolation. Fearing for the position of "blame" can develop burn out syndrome and chronic health problems, and the output may be required to leave the job, and even suicide. Nevertheless, every environment can cause stress, stress levels and some are part of everyday life, not just the result of relationships and opportunities in the workplace.

Many are trying to mitigate the effects of stress in an inappropriate or even harmful way. Nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, sedatives and opiates are the most common means by which we try to reduce the stress we feel. The funds that encourage us to action or stimulants, act to stimulate the secretion of neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, but this causes constant ups and downs of energy and mood. The body eventually gets used to them, so that the dose should be increased incentives to achieve the same effect. Many daily take large amounts of coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, chocolate, or all together. This thing not only does not reduce stress, but addictive smashing natural antistress mechanisms.

Instead of taking stimulants and tranquilizers, modern man should learn methods to avoid stress and reduce its harmful effects. Some of them we can implement themselves, such as a decrease in daily activities (work, family, school, community), the introduction of a proper diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals, avoiding stimulants and sedatives, regular rhythm of sleep and wakefulness, with regular exercise and relaxation techniques meditation.

Definitions of stress
In the recent past, been given the definition of stress is a kind of esoteric meaning for the average person had a vague sense. However, the last three decades back stress is, literally, became well-known term that is often mentioned in the vernacular. It is almost i can not read the daily newspaper idzranja, and that this word appears several times.


Stress is often used as a common descriptor for the feelings of discomfort and discontent. A successful entrepreneur sees stress as tension and frustration that result from pressures at work, a computer programmer considers the consequences of their stress problems in concentration, the nurse thought that stress caused her permanent fatigue, a teacher at the school feels are exposed to stress when working with unruly students. From these examples shows that almost all people today, to some extent aware of the role of stress in their lives, but everyone experiences in their own way.

Considering the number of existing definitions of stress and their ambiguity, for the purposes of this article we will concentrate only on those in use within the field of stress medicine. So for the latest release Websterovog International Dictionary defines stress as "physical, chemical or emotional stimuli in the environment that the individual causes insufficient adaptation or physiological causes tension that can contribute to disease." Dorlandov illustrated medical dictionary describes the stress even as "the sum of compensatory biological response to each stimulus (internal or external) that impairs the body's state of homeostasis. If these reactions are insufficient to return the body in a primary state, there is a disturbance or stress reactions."

Hans Selye, one of the pioneers of modern stress research, stress was originally defined as "the sum total expenditure of the organism during its lifetime." Later, Selye saw stress as a "non-specific effect (mental and physical) any claim on the body, which goes beyond the adaptive capabilities of the organism." Given the above definitions, as well as the generally accepted role of the word "stress" has in everyday communication, we can conclude that this term is used in at least three meanings, each of whom has a role in stress medicine:

Stress as a "stressor", and as a stimulus that causes a biological or psychological tension, ie. disruption of homeostasis. By its nature, stressors can be external, such as for example, war trauma, or problems at work, or internal, such as anxiety, day care or unmet expectations;
Stress as a "distress" as well as subjective feelings of anxiety, tension or anxiety that is the result of stress.Even the ancient Greeks this term association with inner turmoil disease;
Stress as a "biological response". Some doctors zanstvenici and objectified the definition of stress in terms of being measurable and predictable physiological effects caused by stress or distress. In their view, stress can be described observation anticipated changes in pulse rate, heart pressure, concentration of different hormones, immune reactivity, and other physiological parameters.

Stress and homeostasis
With the exception of certain situations, such as growth and development process, the human body usually tries to maintain a state of "internal balance" of their physiological processes, which is called homeostasis. Therefore, if the stressor impairs the stability of this state, the body includes the physiological mechanisms that oppose such a change, which according to Cohen and co-workers, mainly operates in the following ways:

involvement of hypothalamic / pituitary / adrenal (HPA) axis and the secretion of stress hormones (cortisol);
direct physiological connection between the central nervous and immune systems;
humoral-induced changes in the central nervous system, which leads to increased activation of certain organ systems.
Disturbance of homeostasis occurs in the field of biological and emotional person. Reaction that causes distortion ovakovo homeostasis, which act through the above mechanisms can occur in two forms. First, the body may try to peacefully coexist with toxic stimulus, which was then called "sintoksičnom reaction." The organism can also be aggressively defended from the effects of stressors, and then we talk about "katatoksičnoj reaction." Although these terms are generally used in conjunction with the activity of biological stressors, such as. infectious organisms, their use is accepted and the emotional and psychological stressors.

In short, a complete view of stress on the body is best explained by the general model of adaptation syndrome (General Adaptation Syndrome, GAS), which is the author of Hans Selye, who has three phases:

stage alarm. At this stage involves the classic "fight or flight" response to a threat to survival. Stressor (physically or mentally) impairs the homeostasis of the organism, resulting in a whole range of physiological and psychological activities, from high adrenalin secretion, increased heart rate and blood pressure, mental tension and the urge to remove the threat. In the case of personal injury, leads to the inflammatory process. Metabolism is accelerated and increased hemokoncentracija;
phase resistance. After completion of the alarm phase the body tries to calm and control nastupjele changes during this phase. For example, the adrenal glucocorticoid hormones and other physiological processes leading to mitigate inflammation, accelerated anabolic processes and hemodilution. Mentally there is a confrontation with the stressor and attempts to establish a model of coexistence. However, if this stage continues for a long time without returning to a state of homeostasis, leads to the third and last phase;
stage of exhaustion. Here stressor persists within the body and harmful acts, regardless of all attempts at its elimination, or active confrontation and coexistence. Finally there is a depletion of vital capacity of the organism, which means reducing the oraganizam functionality, illness and even death.



Stress and health
As we saw in the preceding text, the processes of the impact of stress on health are carried out through specific mechanisms. So far we have mainly talked about the physiological mechanisms involving the autonomic nervous system and neuroendokrinološke mediators, which in turn affect the immune, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and hematopoietic systems. Acute activation of these mechanisms in case of stress (alarm phase of the general syndrome of adaptation) leads to short-term adaptive physiological changes, as well as the interaction of a range of somatic (eg, increased heart rate, increased perspiration, rapid gatrointestinalnog motility, etc.). Although these physiological changes have a positive short-term adaptive effect, their chronic activation, which occurs after prolonged exposure to stress (exhaustion phase) leads to an increased risk of developing the disease, and pathologic and biochemical changes morofoloških in the central nervous system.

In addition to the physiological, behavioral mechanisms of response to stress can also increase the risk of various diseases, most often through the behaviors that have adverse health effects such as altered nutritional and lifestyle habits (eg increased consumption of fats and carbohydrates, smoking, lack of sleep and physical activity, drug and alcohol).

The impact of psychological mechanisms activated stress on the health of the organism can be seen in at least two directions. First, negative thoughts about themselves and their environment can increase the person's risk of developing various forms of psychopathology, including depression and anxiety. Second, under the influence of stress, cognitive and social factors can influence the perception of the person so that she sees herself as a sick and less valuable. Also, in stressful situations somatic sensations that would otherwise remain unnoticed, may be perceived as pathological symptoms.

Epidemiological studies of stressful life situations that can negatively impact the health of the organism include social isolation, bereavement, unemployment, poor socioeconomic status, divorce, and popout traumatic stress of war, rape, accidents, etc.. The vast majority of the results of these studies suggests that people exposed to these stresses less functional health than the general population, and often suffer from various chronic diseases. From specific diseases and medical conditions in which stress is cited as one of the most important etiological factors we will list coronary heart disease, ulcer disease, Crohn's disease, psoriasis, diabetes mellitus and rheumatoid arthritis. However, targeted studies in the last ten years brought more stress on the bond with a wide variety spetkrom systemic disorders such as multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder, and many malignant diseases.

In this connection it is necessary to focus further efforts in studying the impact of stress on human health and development bolrsti, especially in terms of our everyday life, where we witnessed the tragic effects of war stress in several generations. Given the socio-economic situation and the current state of our health care system, it is this action will enable us to timely prevention of adverse effects that stress makes on the human psyche and the body, which are already known to modern medicine.

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