Stress – This is how your key body systems react


    New Delhi: We all have experienced this – stress- from time to time. Stress is the body’s natural response to a particular situation, stimulus or change.

    Not all stress is bad as it can motivate people to prepare or perform in their tasks. But when stress becomes overwhelming, it can cause numerous emotional and physical disorders. Therefore, knowing how to cope with stress or stressful events is important. This can help reduce or prevent the effects of stress on the body.

    Here are five ways in which your body systems respond to stress:

    Nervous system

    When your body is stressed, the sympathetic nervous system produces the ‘fight-or-flight’ response, signalling the adrenal glands to release adrenaline nad cortisol hormones. These hormones make heart to beat faster, respiration rate to increase, blood vessels in the arms and legs to dilate, change the digestive process and glucose levels in the bloodstream.

    Cardiovascular system

    Chronic stress can lead to long-term problems for heart and blood vessels as a result of the persistent and ongoing increase in heart rate as well as the elevated levels of stress hormones and of blood pressure. This can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack or stroke.

    Repeated episodes of acute stress can also cause inflammation in the coronary arteries, which has been linked to heart attack.

    Respiratory system

    Stress can be lethal for people with asthma or other lung conditions as it can make a person harder to breathe. Stress may cause the rapid breathing – or hyperventilation – that can bring on panic attacks in some people.

    Gastrointestinal system

    Chronic stress can affect your esophagus, stomach, bowel, resulting in a variety of gastrointestinal diseases, including heartburn, or acid reflux, vomotting, diarrhea, constipation.

    Reproductive system

    Stress can disrupt fertility in both men and women. In men, increased level of cortisol affects the normal biochemical functioning of the male reproductive system. Chronic stress can affect testosterone production, sperm production and even cause erectile dysfunction or impotence.

    In women, stress can cause irregular menstrual cycles or more painful periods. It may also reduce sexual desire in some women.

    In a latest, researchers at INRS and Universite de Montreal in Canada revealed that stress can even cause cancer in men. The study, published in journal of Preventive Medicine, found a link to an increased likelihood of lung, colon, rectal and stomach cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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