Health impacts of stress


Stress is definedas a condition that results from complex and dynamic interactionsbetween human beings and their internal and external environments.The interactions lead to mental tension in the victim. Harrington, R.(2013) explains the physiological and psychological models of stress.The physiological model involves the activation of thesympathetic-adrenal medullary system (SAM) and thepituitary-adrenocortical axis (PAC). The stimulation of the SAMsystem results from the fight or flight response that increases theproduction of adrenaline. The excessive, persistent or recurringactivation of SAM may produce a series of body reactions that causesill-health conditions in an individual.

According to thePAC system, the anterior pituitary secretes cortical steroids toenable full adaptation to the stressors. Prolonged and severe stressoverwhelms the pituitary gland and makes a person unable to cope withthe stressors. According to the psychological model, stress resultswhen there is an imbalance between potential harm posed by a stimulusand one’s ability to manage the condition (Elrod, 2013). Whenstressful factors surpass an individual’s ability, they causehealth abnormalities in the body. This paper discusses the healtheffects of stress.

Some behaviorsare unhealthy to a person. Stress influences how an individualbehaves. Lehavot K. &amp Simoni J. (2014) found out, through astudy, that stressful conditions interfere with the mental conditionof human beings. Unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse are theresults of stress (Kang &amp Sandhu, 2012). Alcoholism put anindividual at the risk of developing liver cirrhosis.

Stress affectshow people act and behave. When human beings encounter potentiallyharmful conditions, their typical behaviors and actions changesignificantly. Such conditions may result in uncontrolled eating,lack of sleep, smoking, violence, depression, and inactivity (Kaplanet al., 2013). These are unhealthy behaviors that may resultin poor mental and psychological health. For example, lack of sleepmay cause a headache and violence may lead to physical injury(Goodman &amp Fuller, 2011).

Stressfulconditions may complicate existing health problems. People sufferingfrom myocardial infarction are advised to avoid conditions that arebeyond their ability. This is because stress may increase the levelof the flight hormone in the blood and sudden rise of blood pressure(Hjemdahl, Rosengren &amp Steptoe, 2012). Such conditions result ina heart attack. The individual may even die if the stressor wassevere or persistent. Self-medication was observed individuals byKaplan et al. (2013). It may result in medication errors since theperson may have limited knowledge about the medicine. When the errorsare not reversed within a specified period, the victim may develophealth complications or die.

Prolonged stressresults in high levels of hormones. As a result, variousphysiological processes malfunction. Acute physical stress increasesthe level of growth hormone (GH). GH has the insulin-antagonisticproperty that alters metabolic activity (Ranabir S. &amp Reetu K.,2011). Therefore, the body becomes unable to control blood sugarlevels and may cause stress-induced hyperglycemia results. Stresssuppresses gonadotropins and alters the normal menstrual cycle.Prolonged stressful conditions may cause complete reproductiveimpairment.


Human beingsrespond to the conditions that pose potential harm by avoiding themor adapting. Stress is a condition that results from situations thatare beyond a person’s ability. The stress hormones causephysiological malfunctions and unhealthy behaviors. It may directlyor indirectly cause ill-health conditions such as obesity, poorglycemic control, diabetes mellitus, reduced cognitive ability,metabolic disorders, eating disorders, among others.


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Goodman, C. C., &amp Fuller, K. S. (2011).&nbspPathology for thePhysical Therapist Assistant. London: Elsevier Health Sciences.

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Kang, L. S., &amp Sandhu, R. S. (2012). Impact of Stress on Health:A Study of Bank Branch Managers in India.&nbspGlobal BusinessReview,&nbsp13(2), 285-296.

Kaplan, S. A., Madden, V. P., Mijanovich, T., &amp Purcaro, E.(2013). The perception of stress and its impact on health in poorcommunities.&nbspJournal of community health,&nbsp38(1),142-149.

Lehavot, K., &amp Simoni, J. M. (2011). The impact of minoritystress on mental health and substance use among sexual minoritywomen.&nbspJournal of consulting and clinical psychology,&nbsp79(2),159.

Ranabir, S., &amp Reetu, K. (2011). Stress and hormones.&nbspIndianjournal of endocrinology and metabolism,&nbsp15(1), 18.