Christeena Haynes, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Dallas County, University of Missouri Extension
Our lives can be very stressful and if we become accustomed to living with these feelings then we may not even realize how much it is affecting us. Our bodies are designed to respond to stressful situations in order to protect us from danger. However, when this response is constantly turned on from continued stress, it can lead to health problems.
So what exactly goes on in the body under stress? Whenever you feel threatened, your hypothalamus, located at the base of your brain, triggers an alarm system in your body known as the “fight-or-flight reaction” that causes a sudden increase of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline speeds up your heart rate, raises your blood pressure and increases energy supplies. Cortisol, the main stress hormone, raises your blood sugar and causes your brain to use more glucose and prepares your body to repair tissues. These things are intended to help you during threatening situations.
Unfortunately, there are some negative effects related to cortisol as well…
To learn more about the impact of stress on your health, as well as tips for stress relief, see the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/features/healtharticles/health127.htm