Stress is a part of our everyday lives but it is how we respond to stress that determines whether we become ill.
Hans Selye, a physician and endocrinologist described the three stages of stress as Alarm, Resistance and Exhaustion.
In the Alarm stage, our body recognises the threat and goes into a state of alarm, known as the ‘flight or fight’ response. Adrenaline is produced along with some cortisone.
The second stage is Resistance where our body tries to adapt to the stress. This cannot be kept up indefinitely and eventually our resources become depleted.
The third stage is Exhaustion where the stress has continued for too long. If this stage is not resolved, long term damage may result as the adrenal glands and the immune system becomes exhausted.
As mentioned, the Body’s normal response to Stress is to release hormones from the Adrenal glands. This results in an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, the diversion of blood to the muscles and the release of glucose to the brain.
Short term, this helps us to deal with the Stress but if it continues, it leads to illnesses such as Hypertension, Heart Disease, Stroke, Digestive problems, Diabetes, Asthma, High Cholesterol, Lowered Immune Function and Chronic Fatigue.