Even my five year old says the evil-ed word on a daily basis as if he knows what it means.
But what is s.t.r.e.s.s actually?
I googled and this is what web says – We can define stress as a normal physiological response of the body to situations or stimulus which are perceived as ‘dangerous’ to the body. Stress can affect anyone and everyone at some point of time in their life. When it occurs frequently it affects health – both physical and mental.
Human body is a complex organization of various tissues and each Thesystem of it should function properly and in a coordinated way. Moreover it has to function within the physiological limits which are very restricted and narrow (see Table: 1).Technically this team work is called ‘Milieu Interior or Internal Homeostasis’.
Table 1: Physiological range of certain blood parameters
||7.36 – 7.45
||21 – 27.5 m mol / l
||Normally > 97%
||3.6 – 6.8 m mol / l
The normal physiological range of a few blood parameters is given above. It is just to show how narrow the physiological limits are. The body has to function within this narrow limits maintaining Internal Homeostasis.
The human body is exposed everyday to different person, species, situations and stimuli. Some of the exposures are rewarding and certain others are hazardous. If the exposure is hazardous then the body prepares itself to face the situation – the reason being its ‘Internal Homeostasis’and hence its normal functioning should not be affected. This response is called the Fight or Flight response. This response is to make persons cope with the situation successfully.
Physiology of Stress
When a person is exposed to a ‘dangerous’ situation his body gets ready to face it. It needs more energy for that. The extra energy is got by the ‘Fight or Flight’ response. The initial step is taken by the Hypothalamus of the brain which secretes Adrenocorticotrophic releasing Hormone ARH). ARH stimulates the adjacent pituitary gland to secrete Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). This in turn stimulates the adrenal glands which are situated on the kidneys to secrete Adrenaline and Cortisol.
Now these two hormones work together to see that the body gets more energy by providing more oxygen and glucose. For these things to occur, the following adjustments are done.
- Diversion of the blood from less vital to more vital organs.
- Increase in the heart rate to supply more blood quickly.
- Increase in the blood pressure to supply blood efficiently.
- Increase in the respiratory rate to get more oxygen from the atmosphere.
- Breakdown of glycogen stores in liver and muscle to get more glucose.
- Formation of more glucose from non carbohydrate substances.
So at the end of the response, the body is well geared up and it tackles the situation. To put it in a nut shell -“The mind feels the danger and the body tackles it. These actions are coordinated by hormones”.
Once the trigger is gone the hormonal levels drops and the body returns to normal. But if this happens repeatedly, then all the hormonal levels are persistently high not allowing the body to come back to normal .The body keeps experiencing the above mentioned ‘adjustments’. Soon the hormonal and energy stores get exhausted. The vital link between the mind and the body is lost and the person suffers. The mind gets disturbed by the fact that the threat is there. But the body is too tired to handle it. The coordination between the two is disturbed.
Causes of Stress
Stress is a normal physiological phenomenon. So ‘Undue or Unrelieved Stress’ is the right term when we discuss about the pathological aspects of stress. ‘Undue or Unrelieved Stress’ can occur in any person in whom the normal ‘Fight or Flight’ response is overdone. It can occur as a short term response, delayed response or a prolonged response.
Short Term Response or Acute Stress
Acute stress is the normal physiological ‘Fight or flight response’. The effects will be present only till the person is exposed to transient trigger. The trigger could be
- A narrow miss of an accident
- A competitive exam
- A job interview
- A short lived illness
This is a separate entity. It is also called ‘Post traumatic stress disorder’. It is caused by exceptionally stressful conditions in which the person feels helpless, like
- Natural calamities
- Death of beloved ones
Prolonged Response or Chronic Stress
We define stress due to a prolonged response as chronic stress when the trigger is persistent or repetitive not allowing the body to come back to normal by keeping the stress hormones at the higher level. The persistent stressors could be any one of the following.
- Workplace stress
- Stress at home
- Financial stress
Oh dear Hani, why this crap today?? hmm. Well, I got my blood result yesterday and Alhamdulillah it was an ‘A’ result. In fact, it was excellent. Nothing unsual. Syukur syukur syukur to Allah SWT.
Thing is – doctor said I might be under some life stress.
Itu yang menulis panjang lebar kat atas tuh because I am trying to profile my health. There are things on my mind, the usual ones but none is in a worrying state sampai I need to drain my health thinking about it. Hell NO. Big No.
I like to think that I have been blessed with so much joy and happiness in my life. My family mostly. They are the joy of life forever and always. I super loving them and in return, I got as much love that I need. Melimpah ruah rasanya. Alhamdulillah.
Probably its work? Hmm.. my boss is the greatest boss anyone could ask for. Colleagues – super sporting tak hengat.
Money? well, I got bills to pay but manageable. Im happy with what I had. What I wear and what I eat, alhamdulillah.
What else then?? may be Allah is merely testing and reminding. Because He loves me, thats for sure… 🙂
Ok, lets go and have brunch eh Hani?? *mode* very happy. Alhamdulillah.