The Effect of Stress on Physical Health Essay Sample
The effect of stress has always been viewed as having psychological effects. However, recent research has contradicted this notion. Stress is notorious for causing many physical ailments such as obesity, Crohn’s disease, weakness of heart and most skin conditions. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of all illness and disease is stress-related. The fact that a staggering 90% of illness is caused by stress puts the old theory to shame and strengthens the new theory. So the question now is, How on earth would simple pressure on the brain be a factor in the contraction of 90% of all diseases? The answer is fairly complex. It all begins with the nervous system. When the nervous system detects distress, it instructs the adrenal glands to release adrenaline along with other chemicals such as cortisol.
While limited exposure to adrenaline is helpful (increased physical powers such as super strength), continuous exposure to these chemicals may impair memory, decrease cognitive skill and cause depression. (Every good thing just has to come with a catch.) The liver responds to the chemicals by increasing the amount of blood sugar in the body. This is what causes you to experience that initial jump in energy after distress. While this has great short term benefits, long term stress will probably give you diabetes due to the increased glucose levels present in the body. The respiratory system responds to the threat by increasing breathing speed to bring more oxygen into the body.
Along with the increased power, the risk of contracting an airborne illness is increased greatly. The cardiovascular system responds to the threat by increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Long term stress can narrow arteries and increase the level of cholesterol. This increases the chance of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. The immune system gets a big boost in response to the threat. However, long term stress will do the opposite and weaken the body’s immune system.
Stress affects the digestive system very negatively. It may cause you to have a dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea and/or indigestion. If that isn’t bad enough, continued stress may elevate the risk of irritable bowel syndrome. Stress causes the musculoskeletal system to tighten muscles. Long term stress may cause osteoporosis and body pain. In conclusion, while stress can have great benefits in short amounts, large amounts of stress cause nothing but misery.