“There is no health without mental health”
With the World Mental Health Day (on 10 October) around the corner, we decided to focus on STRESS.
Did you know?
More than 800,000 people each year worldwide commit suicide!
That roughly translates to around one person every 40 seconds ending his/her own life using poisoning, hanging or by shooting himself /herself. India ranks on top of the worldwide suicide figures and also has other worrisome trends -high rate of female and youth suicides to top it off.
Stress — just the sound of this word is enough to set our nerves on edge. In this blog, we jot down some tips that may help you to cope with stress. We, at Texas Medical Concierge, believe that it’s crucial to know your limits when it comes to stress to avoid more serious health effects.
How does stress affect your overall health?
Stress can play havoc on our mind and body! By 2020, depression is projected to become the second most common cause of disability, secondary only to heart disease.
Chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Knowing this is correlation between stress and immune system is very important for identifying which diseases may be influenced by stress and for preventing disease in chronologically stressed people.
Flight or Fight Response- Binge Eating & Tension Headaches
The stress response is a biological mechanism to protect mortals from danger. The hypothalamus (a small region at the base of the brain) sets off an alarm when we are faced with a threat. Nerves and hormones signal our adrenal glands (located near the kidneys) to release hormones including adrenaline and cortisol (often referred to as the stress hormone). Our bodies are prepared to respond in either fight-or-flight. The adrenaline that is released when we are stressed will increase heart rate, raise blood pressure and ready the body’s energy supplies. Cortisol also increases blood sugars. Observe how you crave for sugar and fatty food items when you have looming deadlines, break-up (or whenever stress is likely). It is starkly evident that stress clearly correlates weight gain. “With so much tension, I’m getting another migraine attack”- sounds familiar? Stress also plays a major role in making the pain of the migraines worse. There is an entire type of headache described by medical practitioners as “Tension Headaches”! They are experienced periodically by more than one-third of adults and as the name suggests, they are thought to be directly caused by emotional tension, anxiety, tiredness or stress.
Hyper-arousal, a biological state in which people just don’t feel sleepy, is known to occur during the major stressful events of our lives. A disturbed sleep pattern leads to fatigue and worrying about not being able to fall asleep creates a vicious cycle! Insomnia may be the first manifestation of the underlying mental disorder. Mental problems for example, mood disorders, such as dysthymic disorder, major depression disorder, bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder, as well as most anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders, are frequently attributed to poor sleep.
There’s no question that stress can exert real health effects throughout the body—including the heart. A stressful situation sets off a chain of events. And our body’s response to stress-high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, along with changes in our behavior and lifestyle when we are stressed out (for example, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating) contributes to heart diseases! The technique that we choose to “manage” chronic stress prepares us in reducing the effects of stress on cardiovascular disease.
Do you tend to forget things when you’re stressed? There’s nothing like stress to make your memory go a little sketchy! A new study at the University of Iowa reports a potential link between stress hormones and short-term memory loss in older adults. Another study found out that acute stress affects neural correlates of memory formation in an unexpected manner. Hence, the memory loss! Neuroscientists from the University of California, Berkeley, found that chronic stress can create long-term changes in the brain. Stress increases the development of white matter, which helps send messages across the brain, but decreases the number of neurons that assist with information processing. The resulting imbalance can affect our brain’s ability to communicate with itself, and make us more vulnerable to developing a mental illness.