“Stress”, in itself is not a disease; it’s the reaction and interplay between demands and expectations, and our ability to cope with them. It is not too hard to e stressed out when the stakes are high and we often find ourselves having no control over the situation or how we react. But the only thing that is affected is ourselves and stress just becomes a vehicle, by acting as a coping mechanism that helps the body in dealing with the situation. While some of us might be biologically susceptible to being stressed easily, for others, there could be strong outside factors that may do the trick.
Time and again, researchers have pointed out that some individuals are more prone to the impact of stress than others. One of the first consequences in line are health related problems. Pregnant women, working or single moms, couples who have just separated, children being pushed against demands better performances at school, unemployed or financially strained or underinsured people are a few examples that may constitute this group.
Medical Impact of Chronic Stressors
Often work related stress tends to become chronic as it becomes an indispensable part of people’s life. In turn it leads to less productivity, efficiency, thereby leading to more stress as it becomes a vicious cycle. There can be a number of health related issues that come sooner than we realize such as insomnia, back problems, fatigue and lack of concentration. In some cases it could be severe as if affects circulation of blood vessels and can have long-term effects.
As a mode of defense mechanism, the body in itself tries to prepare in response to a stress situation by involving almost all the organs such as the hear, lungs, immune system, reflexes, the brain and the power of perception etc. It is a complicated, and yet efficient as well as intriguing mechanism, which takes a toll on our bodies in due course of time.
It also puts the effected, under a long-term threat of a heart disorder, breakdown or even stroke, which can even, be fatal. The sooner in life we encounter these mild effects, the more likely we are to see its crippling effects later on. Slowly affecting the hormonal balance, it also has secondary effects such as encouraging people to pursue unhealthy lifestyles such as adopting comfort food for the “feel good” factor or indulge I smoking and drinking. Overall, it’s just the chain of events that makes stress a multi-organ, multi-factorial disorder.
Women have been seen to be more susceptible to stress, which could partly be due to the hormones and partly because of the many different physical cycles that they go through such as pregnancy, lactation and bearing the load of being a full time mother.
To summarize, it can only be stated without a doubt, that too much stress over a period of time, makes you prone to numerous health problems. It could be due to one major event in life or the buildup of multiple factors over a period of time. But more than likely, one would be suffering from a health issue, in one way or the other.
Some of the noticeable changes that can occur in our body due to stress are:
Hypertension, palpitation or heavy breathing, increased perspiration, fatigue, insomnia, body weakness, lack of interest, lack of appetite to name a few. Also, stress puts us at risk for constant headaches, depression, migraine, backaches, suicidal tendencies, stomach ulcers and digestive disorders, alcohol and drug abuse and not to forget, heart attack and stroke. We might want to look for signs early on which could be mild allergies, asthma, colds and infections that come on too often and in general a depressed immune system.
We have to learn to deal with stress as a part of our routine before it switches gears and becomes disabling. There are more than many ways to relieve stress on a daily level, and it’s never too late to start. You deserve living in a healthy and contended environment after all.