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Monday, December 14, 2009

Stress Management: Medical Risks of Stress


What is Stress?

Stress may be defined as the three-way relationship between demands on people, our feelings about those demands and our ability to cope with them. Stress is most likely to occur in situations where:

1. Demands are high.
2. The amount of control we have is low.
3. There is limited support or help available for us.

Who is Affected Most by Stress?

Virtually all people experience stressful events or situations that overwhelm our natural coping mechanisms. And although some people are biologically prone to stress, many outside factors influence susceptibility as well.

Studies indicate that some people are more vulnerable to the effects of stress than others. Older adults; women in general, especially working mothers and pregnant women; less-educated people; divorced or widowed people; people experiencing financial strains such as long-term unemployment; people who are the targets of discrimination; uninsured and underinsured people; and people who simply live in cities all seem to be particularly susceptible to health-related stress problems.

People who are less emotionally stable or have high anxiety levels tend to experience certain events as more stressful than healthy people do. And the lack of an established network of family and friends predisposes us to stress-related health problems such as heart disease and infections. Caregivers, children and medical professionals are also frequently found to be at higher risk for stress-related disorders.

Job-related stress is particularly likely to be chronic because it is such a large part of life. Stress reduces a worker's effectiveness by impairing concentration, causing sleeplessness and increasing the risk of illness, back problems, accidents and lost time. At its worst extremes, stress that places a burden on our hearts and circulation can often be fatal. The Japanese have a word for sudden death due to overwork: karoushi.

Medical Affects of Chronic Stress

The stress response of the body is like an airplane readying for take-off. Virtually all systems, such as the heart and blood vessels, the immune system, the lungs, the digestive system, the sensory organs, and the brain are modified to meet the perceived danger.

A stress-filled life really seems to raise the odds of heart disease and stroke down the road. Researchers have found that after middle-age, those who report chronic stress face a somewhat higher risk of fatal or non-fatal heart disease or stroke over the years. It is now believed that constant stress takes its toll on our arteries, causing chronically high levels of stress hormones and pushing people to maintain unhealthy habits like smoking.

Stressed-out men are twice as likely as their peers to die of a stroke. There are weaker such findings among women, which is likely due to the fairly low number of heart disease and stroke cases among women, rather than a resistance to the health effects of chronic stress. Women seem slightly more susceptible to the effects of stress than men.

Simply put, too much stress puts you at dire risk for health problems. Whether it comes from one event or the buildup of many small events, stress causes major physical alterations that often lead to health problems. Here is a list of some of these changes:

• Our heart rates increase, to move blood to our muscles and brains.
• Our blood pressures go up.
• Our breathing rates increase.
• Our digestion slows down.
• Our perspiration increases.
• We feel a rush of strength at first, but over time stress makes us feel weak.

These reactions helped our ancestors survive threats by preparing for either "fight or flight." Today, our bodies still react the same way, but the events that cause stress do not require this ancient mechanism.

Stress can also greatly raise our risk of:

• Ulcers and digestive disorders
• Headaches
• Migraine headaches
• Backaches
• Depression
• Suicide
• High blood pressure
• Stroke
• Heart attack
• Alcohol and drug dependencies
• Allergies and skin diseases
• Cancer
• Asthma
• Depressed immune system
• More colds and infections

We have to learn ways to relieve stress, because when it goes on for very long or happens too often, it obviously can cause many serious health problems.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/diseases-and-conditions-articles/stress-management-medical-risks-of-stress-278393.html

About the Author:

Executive Director and President of Rainbow Writing, Inc., Karen Cole Peralta writes. RWI at www.bookauthorswriters.com and www.rainbowriting.com is a world renowned inexpensive professional freelance book authors, ghost writers, copy editors, proof readers, coauthors, manuscript rewriters, graphics and CAD, publishing helpers, and website developers international service corporation. And Four Seasons CDROM Store sells inexpensive cds: fun arcade games, business and e-book software and computer learning tutorials, all state of the art, at www.cdrommarket.com .

3 comments:

  1. Nice one post. But hey, I can't find any classification of stress there, I guess. I mean, like what kind of stage of stress someone experiencing right now. And how to identify 'em.

    ReplyDelete
  2. hi blunt_truth, i find some http://stressguide101.blogspot.com/2009/08/understanding-your-stress-levels.html

    and thanks for reminding... will find more articles for that thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am the author of this post, Karen Cole Peralta. Could you please change my name in the About the Author section to only Karen Cole? I am now going by that pen name for family privacy reasons. Also, could you please remove the link to www.bookwritersauthors.com as that is now a dead link, and also remove the entire sentence at the end about Four Seasons CDROM Store, including the link, as that website is now defunct and the link is dead? I would certainly appreciate this needed update. Please write me and let me know you went ahead and did as I asked, and thank you very much for your attention to this (also, once you have done the above, please remove this post too, as it mentions the Peralta name.)

    ReplyDelete