We have all been stressed at some point. It is one of the endemic “diseases” of modern societies. But do we know what this is about stress?
Not all stress is bad. If we encounter a huge lion in the middle of the street we feel stress. This stress is felt by a system that is launched in our body to solve the threat. All the energy, blood and nutrition go to the muscles and our nervous system is on high alert. Digestion and other secondary functions for this moment are relegated. Our body prepares to run or face the lion. This reaction is a stress point proportional to the threat and is not considered a problem, it is a normal process.
So, when is stress stressful? This body’s reaction capacity is not designed to stay in time. What is an advantage at a point in time becomes detrimental if we maintain this level of body activation. Let’s see what happens and why it is harmful.
The explanation for the detrimental effects of sustained stress is found in the mechanisms and substances involved in this response. We will tell you in an understandable way by mentioning these substances that participate, although we will focus mainly on two that are increased in the continued stress: adrenaline and cortisol.
– The activation of the body in the form of stress to face a threat relegates the digestion to the background. It decreases the blood that goes to these organs and paralyzes their function. Problems will continue in the form of ulcers, diarrhea and other digestive disorders.
– Sexual activity. Reproductive function is another function that is relegated and impaired in chronic stress. It will decrease testosterone. This only exacerbates the negative effects on the brain of cortisol, as we will now see.
– Cortisol is a substance that secretes our body in situations of alertness. It raises the sugar in the blood, eliminates the inflammation and the pain, preparing us to respond to the threat. Maintained over time have actions that are going to wear down and harm our body:
– The brain is impaired with excess cortisol maintained. It will provoke symptoms of anxiety and depression, changes in behavior and sleep disturbances. The sadness and the decrease of our self-esteem and the capacity to enjoy will deteriorate our life. In these alterations the cortisol is protagonist although it is much more complex and they participate many other substances like the serotonina and the dopamine.
– It promotes osteoporosis. We absorb less calcium from the diet and we expel more calcium into the kidney. In short, we lose calcium, which added to other negative effects of cortisol on bone metabolism causes our bones to resent.
- – Decreases defenses. Cortisol will lower our immunity against bacteria, viruses and other bugs that live with us. We will be more likely to suffer from illness.
- – Increases blood glucose and contributes to diabetes.
- – It alters the regeneration capacity of body tissues.
- – Adrenaline is responsible, among other things, for ensuring that blood reaches the muscles that have to react to the threat of the lion. To do this, it increases the rhythm of the heart and contracts the arteries to raise blood pressure and ensure the distribution of blood to the places where it is needed. Inadequate levels of adrenaline in the body over time will lead to diseases such as hypertension and heart attacks.
In short, continued stress will decrease our ability to concentrate, sleep worse and tend to anxiety and depression. It will lead to sadness, worse self-esteem, problems in the emotional sphere, desire and sexuality. On the other hand, it predisposes us to diseases by altering our defenses, heart and digestive problems and hypertension. As for back injuries, the tissues will be repaired worse, we have poor bone quality, sometimes facilitating autoimmune processes that can destroy joints and diminish our emotional ability to overcome injuries. In addition, the physical and psychological deterioration produced by chronic stress leaves our body unprotected: we have fat that replaces muscle, obesity.
Today I just wanted to tell you how damaging a sustained stress is. In future posts we will talk about how to face it but I give some brushstrokes. Keeping our body healthy is the first thing to be able to succeed in life in every way. This involves sleeping and eating well, performing moderate and regular exercise and other truisms that we skip daily. And a warning, whatever the source of your stress, your body is warning you that there is something that does not suit you. Listen to your body, reflect and change what prevents you from being happy because it is difficult.
Here you can get more information in this blog great depression facts.