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Health and Aging reading notes chapter

Health Studies
Course Code
Anna Walsh

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Health, Illness, and Optimal Aging
Chapter 10
-through the neuroendocrine system, psychosocial stress can have affects on the cardiovascular and immune system
-older adults are more vulnerable to physical stress
-stress can have a toughening effect on everything from heart shock proteins to social ties
-three ways to define stress
1. Physiological state of the organism (strain)
2. Characteristic of the environment (stressor)
3. View stress as a transaction between the person and the environment
Stress as a Physiological State
Classic Theories
-Cannon was the first physiologist to systematically describe the physiological effects of stress
-posited that the perception of a threat activated the sympathetic nervous system (SNS)
-SNS reacts to stress in 2 ways
1. Sympathetic nerves originate in the spinal column and radiate to the target organs. The sympathetic nerves
directly enervate the heart, the bronchi in the lungs, the gut, and the kidney; they also influence the blood
vessels, sweat glands, and piloerector muscles in the skin
2. In the sympathetic/adrenal medulla (SAM) the nerves radiate to the adrenal medulla which secretes
neurotransmitters into the blood which stimulates the muscles and blood vessels
-flight or fight reaction has harmful effects if prolonged; cannon called voodoo death
-porcine stress syndrome in which a certain percentage of pigs being shipped to market die simple during the stress
of being transported
-Dubos said that if prolonged increased blood pressure and blood clotting would lead to hypertension and
cardiovascular disease
-Seyle’s 3 stage model with alarm, adaption, and exhaustion
Modern Theories
-activation of the HPA axis is an attempt to buffer the rather damaging influence of prolonged SNS activation
-Yehuda said people with PTSD deplete their glucocorticoids
-Sapolsky said that growth hormone in humans initially increases in response to stress
-women like to be surrounded by people prior to a stressful situation whereas men like to be alone
-flight or fight or affiliate
Stress and the Development of Chronic Illness
-allostasis refers to the fluctuation in physiological systems to meet external demands
-metabolic syndrome posits that stress can affect various components of the neuroendocrine system, leading to
metabolic imbalances, increased fat deposits, and diseases
Positive Physiological Changes
-earlier puberty
Physiological Stress and Aging
-too much cortisol can damage receptors in the hippocampus
-affected by chronic illness and medications
Stress as a Characteristic of the Environment
-4 groups: trauma, stressful life events, chronic role strain, and daily stressors/hassles
-direct personal experience of an event that involves serious threat to the life or physical integrity of self or
significant others or learning about such an experience of a loved one
-20-30% of trauma victims gets PTSD
-destroy worldviews and beliefs
-trauma can be grouped into 3 groups: natural or technological disasters, war and famine, individual traumas
Stressful Life Events
-major disruptions in individuals lives due to specific occurrences
-people had stressful event 6 months to 1 yr before illness
-Schedule of Readjustment Rating Scale, sought to specify the life change units associated with each event whether
positive or negative
Chronic Role Strain
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