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How stress hormones affect our overall health

Being under constant stress, nervous tension, under the conditions of poor environment, lack of time, we pay less and less attention to our health. When feel discomfort, they prefer to take "a quick" pill, without even thinking about what caused their illness. As a result, the disease takes a chronic form, sometimes torturing them to death. It would be beneficial to understand this issue a little deeper. Why the level of stress affects our health so much? Let’s look at our small defenders, designed to save our lives in any extreme situation. When a person experiences stress, the hypothalamus affects the molecules of the intermediary substance (corticotrophin, releasing hormone). That, in turn, stimulates the activity of the pituitary gland. Next, the pituitary gland releases adrenocorticotrophic hormone that influences our adrenal glands. Adrenal glands release substances that are similar in their action: adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Let’s look closer at these hormones.

Catecholamine stress hormones - adrenaline and noradrenaline

In any dangerous situation the adrenal glands begin to secrete catecholamine; next the heartbeat gets faster, blood pressure goes up, nervous and muscular excitement gets heightened. Body prepares to fight or to flee. Adrenaline and noradrenaline accelerate the activity of the endocrine glands and the brain. It is for this particular reason that when in danger, people start thinking quicker and become more resilient. Noradrenaline in the body increases the aggression response, controls the speed and volume of blood flow. Catecholamine is the heavy artillery of our bodies, meant to quickly deal with any danger.

The stress hormone cortisol - a hormone-defender

Hormone cortisol, produced by our adrenal glands, turns proteins into energy for the body. In extreme conditions, whether it is hunger, loss of blood, cold conditions, pain, physical or nervous tension – the level of cortisol sharply increases, helping people to survive. Its effect is more lasting than the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline. It is worth noting that cortisol is an antagonist of insulin, and it increases the lipolysis. Since it is designed to protect people from loss of blood, and it speeds up the regeneration of tissues, therefore, it promotes the increase in the number of erythrocytes and platelets.

Cortisol production depends on the time of day, and in pregnant women also on the duration of pregnancy (it goes up by 2-5 times). Prolonged effects of cortisol can cause the following issues:

― hypertension;

― insomnia;

― heart and stomach problems;

― autism;

― muscle weakness, sagging and aging skin;

― brittle bones and many more.

This stress hormone revs up the human immune system to full capacity, mobilizing all the forces of the body. That is why the consequence of prolonged stress can be a serious illness. Still, this is not a complete list of the hormones that our body produces in response to incurred stress.

Hormone deficiency, the same as their excess, is harmful to the human body. Hormone imbalance can cause serious diseases, and in some cases even lead to death. Wise nature has created in our bodies a system to protect us against stress. People, however, with their ignorance, have turned this mechanism into a killer. Every one of us is capable to reduce the amount of stress we experience. All we have to do is stop chasing time, relax more, enjoying the moment "here and now".

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