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In medicine, stress is identified as the body's multifaceted response to any form of demand or challenge. This response can be triggered by both external (from the environment, social situations) and internal (illness, medical procedures) factors. While stress is innate and can sometimes be beneficial (as in cases of acute stress situations which may enhance one's ability to perform), prolonged stress is recognized to have negative impacts on an individual's physical and mental health.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Stress essentially represents the body's method of reacting to a challenge or threat. This reaction involves a complex interplay of physiological and psychological processes. Chemically, it induces the release of certain hormones that prepare the body for a "fight or flight" response.

Causes of Stress[edit | edit source]

Stress can be triggered by a multitude of factors which can broadly be categorized as:

  • Physical stressors: Including injury, illness, surgeries, or fatigue.
  • Emotional stressors: Such as grief, sadness, anger, or frustration.
  • Environmental stressors: Like noise, light, or weather changes.
  • Social stressors: Arising from personal interaction challenges – family problems, disputes with colleagues, etc.
  • Economic stressors: Financial troubles, job insecurity, or loss.

Physiological Effects of Stress[edit | edit source]

  • Cardiovascular system: Stress can lead to an increased heart rate and blood pressure. Chronic stress may result in hypertension, heart diseases, and stroke.
  • Endocrine system: Under stress, the body boosts production of cortisol and adrenaline, the “stress hormones” which can alter the metabolic processes.
  • Immune system: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections.
  • Central nervous system]] and Endocrine system: Stress triggers the hypothalamus to produce corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) which in turn prompts the pituitary gland to produce ACTH, thereby stimulating adrenal glands to produce cortisol.

Psychological Effects of Stress[edit | edit source]

  • Mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
  • Cognitive problems including difficulty concentrating, decision-making challenges, and memory issues.
  • Behavioral issues like mood swings, irritability, and changes in appetite.

Management and Reduction[edit | edit source]

Effective management and reduction of stress involve a combination of physical, behavioral, and psychological strategies. Common techniques include:

  • Relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing exercises.
  • Physical activities like walking, exercise, or yoga.
  • Maintaining a balanced diet.
  • Prioritizing tasks and breaking tasks into manageable chunks.
  • Seeking therapy or counseling when needed.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

While stress is an integral part of life and can sometimes be beneficial, chronic or intense periods of stress can have detrimental impacts on an individual's overall well-being. Recognizing the sources and signs of stress, combined with effective management techniques, can help mitigate its negative effects.

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

Stress Resources

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Contributors: Admin, Bonnu, Prab R. Tumpati, MD