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Health / Lifestyle

Stress – The Stress Response

Stress – The Stress Response

Our body responds to stress in different ways. The response was first described by two American Doctors Walter B. Cannon and Hans Selye in 1930s. According to their findings, the first reaction to severe stress is what is known as “Fight-Or-Flight” response.

Our body’s protective mechanism gets activated either to fight or flee. That is fight and control the stressor or react to avoid the stressor or the threat of it.

The initial fight-or-flight response alerts us to a danger and in fact is beneficial. This provides us the strength, stamina and speed necessary for the survival.

Response mechanism

The stress response is controlled by the Endocrine System. This regulates various bodily functions. Immune, Growth and Reproductive Systems are regulated. Similarly Metabolism, Allergic Response and Stress Tolerance are also regulated.

Any unusual demand on body’s physical and mental resources stimulates the Endocrine Glands – mainly the Adrenal, Pituitary and Hypothalamus glands. They secrete Chemical Messengers called Hormones into the Blood Stream. These Hormones include Adrenaline, Noradrenaline, Cortisol, Testosterone and Thyroxin which are powerful stimulants. They produce variety of physical responses like

  • Perspiration
  • Rapid Breathing (to generate more intake of Oxygen)
  • Increased Pupil Dilation
  • Higher Heart Rate and Blood Pressure – which gets more blood to the Muscles, Brain and Heart
  • Muscle Tenseness – preparing for any action
  • Increased blood flow to the key organs dealing with a danger – Brain, Heart and Muscles
  • Decrease in blood flow to the Skin, Digestive Tract, Kidneys and Liver – less needed in case of a crisis
  • Increased Mental Alertness and Sensitivity – helps in assessing the situation and act immediately
  • Increased Blood Sugar, Fats and Cholesterol – for providing more energy
  • Rise in Platelets and Blood-Clotting factors – prevents hemorrhage in case of an injury

Unrelieved stress is harmful to our body in the long run and must be addressed to properly.

Stay Healthy, Stay Stress-Free and Live Happily.

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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