The impact of stress on health
Stress would cause more than 60% of physician visits. It reaches a very wide audience, regardless of age and social level. Stress becomes worrying when it persists as it can become dangerous to your health.
What happens in the body under stress?
According to the endocrinologist Hans Selye, stress is a normal response of the body to the stresses and aggressions it undergoes. It triggers a succession of reactions that allow the body to manage the situation and to regulate the stress caused by this triggering event.
The stress process consists of 2 phases:
The alarm phase: The organism reacts to this “attack” by stimulating the adrenal glands so that they release adrenaline and the body can react immediately. Heart rate and blood pressure increase, some muscles contract and glucose is released into the blood.
The resistance phase: The body then releases other hormones, including cortisol (hormone that intervenes in the regulation of blood pressure, cardiovascular function, immune function), dopamine (= pleasure hormone) Endorphins (= hormones of well-being), serotonin (= hormone of sleep and appeasement).
Once the stressful situation is calmed and controlled, a relaxing reaction begins. After a period of rest the body returns to its natural metabolism.
When stress makes you sick?
Sometimes the stressful situation lasts longer or is repeated frequently. The organism then enters the 3rd phase: the phase of exhaustion. The hormones produced to manage stressful situations are produced almost continuously, which costs the body too much energy. Excess cortisol blocks the production of new neurons in the hippocampus (brain region that affects mood), which could lead to depression.
Too much stress would be the cause of certain immune system failures. In addition, stress would be responsible for many ailments such as certain skin infections, insomnia, or amenorrhea. It would also aggravate certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Stress and cardiovascular diseases
American researchers, Dr. Friedman and Dr. Rosenman have been interested in how the personality of individuals affects their stress management.
They identified 2 typical personalities: Type A and Type B individuals. Type A individuals could suffer from the adverse effects of stress because they are impatient, hardworking, aggressive and ambitious. Conversely, Type B people would be much more optimistic and casual. Type A people would be 6 times more likely to have heart problems than Type B people.
Stress would age
The hormones secreted during a stressful situation leave traces in the body. This waste is deposited on the arteries, the joints, the skin and promote the aging of the tissues.
Stress generates free radicals (= unstable compounds formed of oxygen) and increases the oxidative damage, that is to say the aging and the death of the cells.