Dirk Gaines, MD
The Doctor Corner with Dirk Gaines, MD
ASK Doctor Gaines, MD
Otros Temas de Salud
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Stress is something that everyone experiences in their life. It is a
natural response to various situations. When we experience
stress, our body secretes many hormones in response.
These include well known hormones such as adrenaline (aka
epinephrine) and cortisol.
These hormones increase our heart rate, blood pressure and
metabolic activity of tissues and organs throughout our body. The
end results that we get, that rush of energy that helps us with the
task at hand.
Most people think of physical tasks, such as those seen in athletes
or firefighters. But even mental tasks such as meeting a deadline
at work can cause our body to release these same hormones in
response. This is a natural response and most of the time, once
the object or tasks that caused the stress response is gone, our
body no longer secretes these stress hormones.
What happens if we experience prolonged stress? Is it such a big
Unfortunately, there are both mental and physical consequences
to prolonged stress. Our body cannot maintain this overdrive state
and things start to break down.
•Our immune system becomes weak.
•We lose sleep.
•Our blood pressure rises which overtime, can lead to heart attack,
Sometimes the signs of stress of subtle.
We can be irritable, depressed, or anxious.
Luckily, there are ways to manage stress.
Eating well and getting plenty of sleep have been shown to reduce
Activities such as yoga and tai chi can not only reduce stress but
also increase flexibility and strength.
For some, participating in religious activities help ease the mind.
An activity that has been gaining popularity is called mindfulness
meditation and is a great way to manage stress. In a broad sense,
mindfulness meditation is a method to allow one to pay attention to
the present moment, allowing them to be cognizant of their
thoughts and give them ways to reduce harmful thoughts. There is
much more to mindfulness then this simple definition.
All in all, stress is a natural response but can be damaging to the
body if prolonged. It can also affect us mentally, causing
depression and anxiety. If there is ever a point where these
feelings become overwhelming, consider seeing your local primary
care physician immediately. Look for resources available online,
at your local library or primary care office for tools to manage
Disclaimer: The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for
professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any
questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard
professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something
you have read on this website. Reliance of information on this blog is at
your own risk. Do not hesitate to call 911 in the event of a