Excessive stress can lead to serious illnesses
Stress is not yet officially considered a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO). But because about 90% of the world's population suffers from the disease, the entity has already warned of a global epidemic. Today, stress is seen by most of the traditional medical community as a set of physical and emotional symptoms that can lead to other pathologies.
The list of health problems that may arise due to stress is immense . Some of them are allergies, panic disorder, infections caused by low immunity, depression, asthma, bronchitis, chronic muscle contraction, migraine, gastritis, obesity and some types of cancer.
But stress only brings these complications when it is excessive. The doctor and acupuncturist Ruy Tanigawa explains that a little stress has always been part of human life. For the caveman he helped in defense. Faced with a dangerous situation, stress encouraged the body to produce certain substances, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which could make the muscles stronger, allowing the individual to fight or flee.
The problem is that, nowadays, stress situations are more constant and the physiological processes of the human organism still function quite similarly to those of our ancestors. Therefore, the production of cortisol ends up being much greater than necessary, which causes disturbances. Psychologist Fatima Bitencourt says that in order to be healthy, a person needs to have a stressful situation followed by a relaxation situation, but "in the world we live in, we relax less and less and we get more and more stressed," he says. Stress affects about 90% of the population - Photo: Getty Images
In health care, the term stress was pioneered by the Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye in 1936, in the magazine
. He applied the word to define a set of symptoms, such as high blood pressure, fatigue, dismay and lack of appetite, which he had observed in several patients. In 1950, Selye was recognized as "the father of stress." Today, in Brazil, one of the great references in stress is the psychologist Marilda Lipp, founder of the Psychological Center for Stress Control and professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas . According to his definition, stress is "a state of mental and physical tension that produces an imbalance in the overall functioning of the human being and weakens his immune system, leaving him subject to infections and diseases." According to International Stress Management Association
, positive stress, called eustresse, and negative, called distress, cause similar physiological reactions: the hands and feet tend to sweat and cold, the heart speeds up, and blood pressure increases. But on the emotional level, the signs are quite different. Eustresse motivates and encourages the person to deal with situations of conflict. On the contrary, distress catches the individual, making him intimidate and flee from the situation. Psychologist Marília Dória stresses that it is not possible - nor desirable - to avoid stress completely. "It's a very useful defense mechanism for any organism. Humans need the adrenaline and stress-generated reactions to stay energized, motivated and competent." The expert says that in order to achieve a balance between eustresse and distress, it is necessary to change the way one sees events and acquire healthy habits of life. This combination is, in fact, the recommendation of most professionals treating patients with stress symptoms.
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