Stress has a profound impact on the entire immune system, the network of organs, tissues, and white blood cells that is responsible for defending the body against disease Stress results in a set of reactions that mobilize the organism's resources to deal with an impending threat. When a threat is perceived the hypothalamus signals both the sympathetic nervous system and the pituitary.

The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands release corticosteroids to increase metabolism which provides immediate energy. The pituitary gland releases adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) which also affects the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands then release epinephrine and norepinephrine which prolongs the fight-or-flight response
A continued state of arousal occurs If the stressful situation is prolonged, The high level of hormones during the resistance phase upsets homeostasis and harms internal organs, leaving the organism vulnerable to disease. Later, the body's energy reserves are finally exhausted and breakdown occurs. The body adapts by responding with headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular and kidney diseases.

Stress arises only when a particular transaction is appraised by the person as relevant to his or her well-being.

When an event is appraised as a challenge, it lead to different physiological consequences than when it is appraised as a harm/loss or threat. challenge to describe a transaction that could lead both to positive and negative emotions. A challenge should be viewed more positively than a harm/loss or threat event.

Stress has been used to describe a variety of negative feelings and reactions that accompany threatening or challenging situations. However, not all stress reactions are negative. A certain amount of stress is actually necessary for survival.

Stress involves the interaction of the individual with the environment. Both the sympathetic/adrenal and pituitary/adrenal systems become activated in response to stress. However, while a certain amount of stress is necessary for survival, prolonged stress can affect health adversely (Bernard & Krupat, 1994).

Different people experiencing similar life conditions are not necessarily affected in the same manner. It is clear that stress affects your body, your physiology.

What is going on in your mind determines what is happening in your body. Stress contributes to a significant percent of all major illness, including the number one cause of death in America, cardiovascular disease. Stress stats
70-80% of all visits to the doctor are for stress-related and stress-induced illnesses.

Chronic stress is the result of many repeated rounds of acute stress (episodic acute stress) or a life condition, such as a difficult job situation or chronic disease.

The stress response remains activated as if we are thinking we should be running from the big bear. The thought of threat, on a continual basis, sends the message to our systems that our survival mechanisms of fight-or-flight need to be continually activated. As a result, the normally functioning systems of the body cease to function so perfectly.

When the big bear shows up, we want and need to run or fight. Many functions in the body turn off because they are not needed to get away from the big bear. Other functions in the body are activated to higher than normal levels. However, when we are not in danger, continued activation of the stress response is not necessary. Remember, you only need to think you are in danger for the stress response to activate.

Stress has a profound impact on the immune system, the network of organs, tissues, and white blood cells that is responsible for defending the body against disease. The powerful stress hormones suppress the immune system making the body less capable of fighting disease and infection. Simply stated, stress suppresses the immune system’s ability to produce and maintain lymphocytes (the white blood cells necessary for killing infection) and natural killer cells (the specialized cells that seek out and destroy foreign invaders), both crucial in the fight against disease and infection (Hoeger, 2002). Impaired immunity makes the body more susceptible to many diseases, including infections and disorders of the immune system itself such as the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis.

Increasingly evidence suggests a relationship between the risk of cardiovascular disease and environmental and psychosocial factors. These factors include job strain, social isolation and personality traits. Mental stress increases oxygen demand because blood pressure and heart rate are elevated.

A chemical known as interleukin-6 (IL-6) dramatically increased in the caregivers as compared to the non-caregivers. IL-6 is a chemical known as a cytokine that is involved in the body’s immune system. Overproduction of IL-6 has been associated with the development or progression of a number of medical conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, and functional decline.

Stress due to loneliness, poverty, bereavement, depression and frustration due to discrimination are associated with impaired immune system resistance to viral linked disorders ranging from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and cancer.

Happy, relaxed people are more resistant to illness than those who tend to be unhappy or tense. Adults with the worst scores for calmness and positive mood are about three times more likely to get colds than the more relaxed and contented adults..

Culture and society may shape what events are perceived as stressful, what coping strategies are acceptable to use in a particular society, and what institutional mechanisms we may turn to for assistance.

Our society can elicit stress by promoting values that conflict with the structures in which they are acted upon. The system of values in the United States promotes attainment of monetary and honorable success among more people than could be accommodated by the opportunity structures available. As a consequence, many of those individuals who internalize these culturally prized goals are doomed to failure.

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