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Chapter 3

Health Sciences 1001A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Raise Your Voice, Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus Type 2

4 pages86 viewsWinter 2013

Health Sciences
Course Code
Health Sciences 1001A/B
Shauna Burke

of 4
Chapter 3
Stress: The Constant Challenge
What is stress?
Stress refers to:
1.) Situations that trigger physical and emotional reactions = stressors
2.) The reactions themselves = stress response
Stress = the general physical and emotional state that accompanies the stress response
Not only a physical reaction, also an emotional component
Response to Stressors
The primary determinant of health consequences of stress is how the individual responds to the
Responses to stressors include:
o Physical changes
o Emotional and behaviours responses
Physical Responses to Stressors
Two control systems are responsible for the physical response to stressors:
1.) Nervous system
2.) Endocrine system
Nervous System
Consists of the Autonomic Nervous System which consists of:
1.) Parasympathetic Division
In control when you are relaxed
Aids in digestion, storing energy, growth promotion
2.) Sympathetic Division
Activated during arousal and emergency situations (pain, anger, fear)
Releases norepinephrine which commands body to mobilize energy resources to
respond to crisis and causes arousal (increases attention and alertness) when released
in the brain
Endocrine System
The system of glands, tissues, and cells that help control body functions by releasing hormones
and other chemical messengers into the bloodstream
Helps prepare the body to respond to a stressor
Nervous System + Endocrine System
Brain detects threat:
Neurochemical message sent to hypothalamus which releases chemicals to pituitary gland
which releases adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) into bloodstream
ACTH reaches adrenal glands which release cortisol and other key hormones into the
Sympathetic nerves instruct Adrenal Glands to release the hormone epinephrine which triggers
several bodily changes
Examples: acute hearing and vision, increased heart rate, increased perspiration, etc.
Fight or Flight reaction (Sir Walter Cannon)
**Physical changes vary in intensity but the same physical reactions occur in response to both positive
and negative stressors
Physical Responses to Stressors
A state in which blood pressure, heart rate, hormone levels, and other vital functions are
maintained within a narrow range of normal
Once a stressful situation ends, the parasympathetic division of the ANS initiates adjustments
necessary to restore homeostasis
Fight-or-Flight Reaction in Modern Life
A survival mechanism that is part of our biological heritage
Not often necessary many stressors we encounter do not require a physical reaction
Fight-or-flight reaction prepares the body for physical action regardless of whether it is an
appropriate response
Emotional and Behavioural Response to Stressors
In addition to fight-or-flight, humans may respond to stress with social and nurturing
Especially characteristic of females; female response to stress evolved to protect self and
May depend on underlying biological mechanisms (e.g. hormone oxytocin)
Stress and Disease
Explaining Stress and Disease
1) The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)
Developed by Hans Selye (1936)
Stressors can be pleasant = Eustress
Stressors can be unpleasant = Distress
Sequence of physical response is the same for both
Three reaction stages
Stage One: Alarm (initial stressor)
o Includes fight-or-flight response
o Body is prepared to deal with crisis more susceptible to disease
o Symptoms = headaches, indigestion, anxiety, disrupted sleep/eating
Stage Two: Resistance (continued stress)
o New level of homeostasis achieved
o Resistance to disease enhanced
o Individuals can cope with normal life and added stress
Stage Three: Exhaustion (prolonged exposure to stress)
o Considerable amount of resources utilized in previous stages
o Result = physiological exhaustion and low resistance to disease
o Symptoms = distorted perceptions and disorganized thinking
o Assigns a limited role to psychological factors
o Assumes that responses to stress are uniform *remains a cornerstone of the field of
2) Allostatic Load
o Long-term wear and tear of the stress response
o Long-term exposure to stress hormones linked with health problems
o Dependent on many factors (genetics, life experiences, emotional/behavioural
responses to stressors, etc.)
o High allostatic load linked with heart disease, hypertension, obesity, decreased brain
and immune system functioning
3) Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)
o The study of the interactions among the psychological processes and the nervous and
immune systems
o Stress impairs the immune system thereby affecting health
o Acute stress enhancement of immune response
o Chronic stress negative effects on immunity
o Additional research needed with humans
o Relationships between mental processes and health
Colds and other infections, headaches, stiff neck, stomach ache, allergies, etc.
Long term:
Cardiovascular disease
High blood pressure
Impaired immune function
Type 2 diabetes
Psychological problems
The Dalai Lama
Recently joined scientists to discuss how stress affects health
Suggested that stress in life leads to negative emotions such as fear, jealousy, and anger, which
turn into violence
Believes world peace begins with inner peace, tolerance, and compassion
“To understand meaningful dialogue first you must understand others’ interests and you must
respect them as your brothers and sisters and also consider them as a part of yourself”
- Dalai Lama (The London Free Press, 2006)
Study: Coping with Stress
National online survey of over 1000 youth between the ages of 13 and 18
1 in 5 youths reported daily stress in high and very high ranges
Top stressors were school (69%), money (24%), and body appearance (24%)
42% keep problems to themselves
19% routinely seek help to deal with stress (most talk to friends, followed by mothers, and
finally, fathers or siblings)
Raise Your Voice National Youth Survey (Motorola Canada) 2006
Stress and Health: “Workaholics”
31% of Canadians (19-64 years) identified themselves as workaholics
65% worry they don’t spend enough time with family and friends
56% reported that they did not have time for fun
Complained more of sleep problems

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