Why does stress affect health? At the same time, you think that the journey to work does not have much to do with your health, but the stress that accompanies it can affect it. Here we explain why.
Each time you face a stressful situation, such as traffic bottlenecks, your body releases stress hormones, especially adrenaline and cortisol (hydrocortisone). These substances indicate to certain organs that they are prepared to take action.
For example, the liver releases glucose to provide energy to muscle cells; the lungs expand and the heart rate is accelerated to send more oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body, and the intestinal muscles contract. All these reactions can lead to stress-related conditions such as chronic hypertension, gastroesophageal reflux, intestinal irritation, depression, anxiety, constipation, and tiredness.
Stress can even lead to weight gain. Cortisol not only triggers the appetite but if its levels remain high, it can activate the fat cells inside the abdomen to fill with more fat, which generates a type of fat called visceral obesity. This condition becomes a serious threat, increasing the likelihood of developing diabetes or heart attacks.
Stress also affects our immune system, which, like most body systems, is provided with a regulatory mechanism. Once this system attacks and destroys invading germs with potent chemical substances, the brain releases cortisol to end that defensive response, soothe the body and bring it back to its normal alertness. However, if the brain releases cortisol all the time, such as when it is under chronic stress (in situations such as moving to the workplace), the immune system will always be inactive, which increases the risk of contracting various diseases.