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Discuss briefly any five ways in which health of an individual can be affected by stress.

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Ways in which health of an individual can be affected by stress : Stress has been implicated in the occurrence of heart disease, high blood pressure, hardening the arteries, ulcers and even diabetes. It interferes with efficient operation of our immune system, this elaborate internal mechanism through which our bodies recognize and destroy potentially harmful substances and intruders, such as bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. Prolonged exposure to stress seem to disrupt this system.

Studies of the effect of stress on animals and humans suggest that a variety of stressors, including disruptions in interpersonal relationships, loneliness, academic pressure, daily hassles and the lack of social support, can interfere with our immune systems. Persons who are divorced or separated from their spouses often experience reduced functioning in certain aspects of their immune system, compared to individuals who are happily married.

Diabetes : When stressed, the blood sugar level rises. Stress hormone like cortisol and epinephrine are released as they raise blood sugar to help boost energy when it is needed the most. Both physical and emotional stress can prompt and increase these hormones resulting in an increase in blood sugar.

Ulcer and High Blood Pressure (Hyper-tension) : Stress causes psycho-physiological (mind-body) illness. This illness which include certain forms of hypertension, ulcers and headaches, are not caused by known physical disorders. Instead, the culprit is stress. In people with reactive temperaments chronic stress produces various changes. If there is prolonged resentment, anger or anxiety may stimulate an excess of digestive acids that eats away parts of the lining of the stomach or small intestine, creating ulcers. Another person under stress may retain excess sodium and fluids which together with construct the arteries cell walls, contributes to increased blood pressure. 

Stress and cancer : Several investigators report that people are at risk for cancer a year or so after experiencing depression, helplessness or bereavement. Cancer occur more often than usual among those who are widows, divorced or separated. Alan Justice notes that stress does not create cancer cells, rather it affects their growth by weakening the body naturally defuses against a few proliferating malignant cells. 

Stress and heart attack : Friedman and Raseman measured the blood cholesterol level and clotting speed of 40 US tax accountants from January to March, both of these coronary warning indicators more completely normal. Then, as the accountants began scrambling to finish their tax returns before April 15th filing deadline, their cholesterol and clotting measures rose to dangerous levels in May and June with the deadlines past the measures returned to normal. The researches launch had paid off. Stress predicted heart attack risk. Type A people more prone to heart attacks. They smoke more, sleep less and drink milk and more caffeinated drinks. All contribute to coronary risk.

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