It is generally agreed that physical well-being is directly linked to mental well-being. For one to be perfect, the other must also be. However, if one is suffering, the other will suffer. It is well-known that stress can have both a negative and significant impact on our mental and physical health. Therefore, it is important to reduce stress in our lives. Canadian pharmacy Customer Care Policy ensures that our customers do not just get the best price for their prescription drugs, but also outstanding customer service.
How does stress affect our bodies, minds and health? Stress is more than a mental state. Stress and stressful situations can cause a physical reaction in our bodies that alters hormone levels. This can affect the body’s organs and alter our physical appearance.
In this latest post, one our pharmacist experts provides key insight into stress and how it can impact our health.
1. The biological response to stress
Many people have heard of the brain’s “fight or flight” response to stress. This is the instinctive response that our brains learned in prehistoric times, when humans relied on primaeval instincts for survival. It is designed to allow us to recognize a threat and either run away from it or fight it.
Modern dangers may not be life-threatening but the physiological response of the body to them is.
The brain is alerted to potential dangers when you hear or see them.
Triggers in your brain
Once the signals reach amygdala, a brain-shaped gland that regulates emotions and makes decisions, the amygdala sends another signal to alert hypothalamus. This gland is responsible for hormone release.
The hypothalamus’ fast-acting portion releases adrenaline throughout your nervous system. The process of making cortisol begins with the hypothalamus.
Cortisol, adrenaline and other chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body to the various organs and nerves.
Cortisol increases blood sugar, giving the body more energy. The heart rate increases and adrenaline causes blood to flow faster. The size of the lungs increases and all systems the brain considers in stressful situations are shut down. This includes the immune system, reproductive system, and reproductive system. The body is now ready to fight or flee.
2. Long-term stress can have devastating effects
Acute and chronic stress are different. Acute stress can be short-term while chronic stress can last for a long time. It can be difficult to manage everyday stressors. The hormones and inflammatory chemicals in the brain and body cannot be reset to normal, resulting in an increased stress level.
The brain can’t reset adrenaline levels to normal. This puts the heart under pressure, which could lead to future coronary problems. The heart’s muscles become fatigued and damaged from overwork. Researchers at Tulane University discovered that heart attacks are three times more common after Hurricane Katrina. This is likely due to the constant stress New Orleans residents were subjected to.
The brain reduces the amount of immune cells that are activated during stressful situations to allow the brain to focus on the functions involved in fight or flight. The immune system can be damaged if the stress situation continues, and people are more likely to get sick if they continue to release cytokines and inflammatory chemicals.
Cortisol plays a vital role in the stress response. However, prolonged stress can lead to damage to the body. Cortisol can cause muscle and bone loss by inhibiting the absorption of amino acids. Cortisol stimulates the liver to make glucose, but it prevents insulin from transporting glucose to cells. This results in excess glucose in the bloodstream. This can cause damage to blood cells over time. Recent research has shown that cortisol, which is produced during stressful events, can cause damage to the appearance.
3. How to reduce stress and its effects
It is difficult to avoid stress and it isn’t healthy to try to avoid it all together. Learning how to manage stress is important to ensure that it does not affect your health. It is important for the brain to be able to relax in order to reset its hormone levels and stop producing inflammatory chemical. The brain can relax and calm down through stress therapies. Simple, slow breathing, which can be done at any time, will allow the brain to relax. Experts recommend that patients breathe in for four seconds, then out for six. This will allow the heart rate to slow down and relax the body. Aromatherapy and sound therapy, long-term stress treatments, help the body unwind and allow the brain to relax. This allows the body to stop releasing stress chemicals into its body.