Free Custom «The Relationship between Stress and Diseases» Essay Sample
Stress is a process where environmental demands strain the adaptive capacity of an individual making the one susceptible to illnesses. It is inevitable and may stem from time and financial pressure or difficulties in personal relationships. However, the vulnerability to stress varies from one individual to another depending on the type of personality, social support and the coping style. There is a strong correlation between stress and illnesses. The paper will lay emphasis on the degree of the relationship between stress and diseases like headache, diabetes, heart diseases and infections among others.
Stress wreaks havoc upon the mind and body, and researchers have found out a correlation between psychological stress and such illnesses as depression, as well as infectious and heart diseases. For instance, such chronic psychological condition has the ramification of depriving the body of its ability to regulate inflammatory responses. It can subsequently promote the development and progression of an infectious disease. When the human body is stressed, it retaliates by pumping adrenaline and cortisol in the blood stream. The second regulates inflammation, but stress alters its effectiveness. Cortisol is a vital hormone because the body would not have been prepared to deal with stress levels without it.
Although cortisol controls inflammation, chronic stress leads to the release of its excess, and cells become desensitized to the hormone causing inflammation to be uncontrollable. Similarly, elevated cortisol levels may be a precursor to metabolic disturbances and a higher risk of chronic conditions. Moreover, they are associated with insulin resistance, hypertension and abdominal obesity. The correlation between stress and diseases can also be attributed to the excessive activation of stress response either in the brain or in the endocrine system. When the body is under excessive stress, the immune system becomes weak and loses its ability to fight antigens that cause most diseases effectively. It is because psychological stress alters the immune function through the direct innervation of lymphatic tissues.
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Another physical problem related to stress is increased blood pressure and chronic muscle tension, which can lead to life-threatening diseases, such as cancer and heart attack. The increased blood pressure can also cause chest pains/angina, which increase demand on the heart. Additionally, it affects levels of blood sugar in diabetic people, and this raises risk factors of heart diseases, as well as kidney or nerve damage. Stress levels can also be a precursor to diabetes because when one is stressed, cells stop responding to insulin and dump more fat in the system as a result. Such process leads to insulin resistance, which is likely to cause diabetes. However, the fact that stress can make someone fat can be attributed to the excessive secretion of the stress hormone and the reduced amount of anabolic hormones, such as testosterone. Subsequently, the body stores fat, loses muscle and slows down the metabolic rate. Since stressed people tighten their necks and shoulders, this causes tense muscles, which can trigger a headache. Moreover, stress causes anxiety, which is a primary cause of insomnia being a high risk factor for headaches and migraines.
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In conclusion, stress is unavoidable and can lead to serious health problems, such as heart diseases, if it is not managed. It is thought to be an important factor leading to different health problems. However, there is no direct correlation between stress and most illnesses since it is hard to measure stress levels, and different individuals react to it differently. What happens is that stress can be a risk factor or makes other conditions provoking diseases worse. For example, stress levels can increase blood sugar levels and the risk of heart diseases and diabetes among other health complications such as a kidney failure. Moreover, they can lead to insulin resistance, which is also a risk factor that may cause diabetes.
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