The Physiology of Stress

“Group 6 it’s your turn” as Dr. Davies took his seat at the beginning of his lectures. Hospital practice-course title, has been that platform for all students offering it to display their skills in research and lecture delivery. “We’ll be discussing cortisol and it effect on stress” the group leader said by way of introduction. Sit back, take your time as I bring you bit by bit information on the physiology of stress, causes and management.

Dr. Davies Kofrey defined stress as the condition capable of unbalancing homeostasis in the body. Stress is an inevitable part of life ranging from physical stress which includes change in weather conditions, increase in body temperature; emotional stress: anger, fear; to bacteria invasion in the body causing infection and sickness.
Stress can be both beneficial-physiological or destructive. A good example physiological stress is muscular exercise with its attendant imbalance in the body for example mild hypoxia with might result in the production of ketone in the body. And of course, worry and anxiety could be classified as negative stress.

Stress of any kind whether it be physical or neurologic can cause an immediate and marked increase in ACTH secretion by the anterior pituitary followed within minutes by adrenocorticotropic secretion of cortisol. Cortisol is an emergency-stress response hormone secreted at any incidence of stress (listed below). It mobilizes labile proteins and make amino acids available to needy cells in the synthesize of essential substance need for life. Various stressor of the body includes: Infections, intense mild/heat, surgery, almost any debilitating disease including schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis and poliomyelitis amongst others.

Short and Long Term Effects of Stress
During periods of increased stress, the immune cells which produces antibodies are bathed (immersed) in molecules which essentially tell them to stop fighting. These molecules which are cortisol molecules suppresses the immune system and inflammatory pathways rendering the body more susceptible to disease (Onyinyechi, 2016). Other significant effects of stress include prolonged healing time as a result of increased blood clotting time, reduction in ability to cope with vaccinations and heightened vulnerability to viral infection.
Onn a long time scale, effects of stress are seen in impaired cognition-trouble in remembering and learning; decreased thyroid function amongst others.

Managing stress: Simple both effective way of combating stress includes Exercise, relaxation, deep breathing, consulting a specialist say a psychologist, etc.

Remember, stress is a normal part of life but at times it may be too much and feels out of control.

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  1. Williams · January 7, 2017

    This is a nice write up. Good information you’re sharing here.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. myhealthrevblog · December 14, 2016

    Nice post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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