Stress and health
By Rafael Castillo, MD
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:25:00 11/01/2008
Stressors can come from various sources. And we’re constantly exposed to all sorts of stressors every day. For those who can handle them properly, up to a certain level of stress is healthy. It is a positive stimulus for us to do what we need to do as efficiently or effectively as we could. We can do remarkable feats—even break world records—when we’re under stress. This is labeled as eustress. But if these stressors are not properly managed, our body can react negatively to them and produce signs and symptoms which interfere with our daily activities. We become dysfunctional. The stress becomes distress. The medical literature is now teeming with studies showing that recurrent unmanaged stress over a period of time can actually lead to heart disease, diabetes and other medical problems. A study published in the British Medical Journal studied the role of chronic job stress in 10,308 British civil servants aged 35-55 over a 14-year period. Chronic stress in these subjects has been linked to the development of metabolic syndrome characterized by obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol problems. The higher the stress level, the greater the chance of developing metabolic syndrome. A possible explanation for this link of stress with metabolic syndrome was that there were more health damaging behaviors like smoking, heavy drinking, poor diet and lack of exercise—especially in men—in those who were constantly under stress. Signs, symptoms of stress
Recognizing stress early is the key to manage it effectively. Framelia Anonas writes in H&L (Health & Lifestyle) magazine subtle signs and symptoms of stress: • Physically, one experiences dizziness, general body ache, sweat, headache, indigestion and grinding teeth while sleeping. • Mentally, one constantly worries, becomes forgetful, and has...