Una (HP): Stress is the root cause of several ailments that can range from headaches to heart attacks, from fatigue to forgetfulness, digestive issues to depression and more.
It causes skin to wrinkle and age faster, aggravates existing skin diseases like acne and psoriasis, and worsens sinusitis, cold, cough, and allergies said Dr Naresh Purohit, Executive Member of the Indian Academy of Neurosciences.
Voicing his concern on the havoc caused by stress on human body noted neuro-researcher Dr Purohit told UNI here today that chronic stress affects the gastrointestinal system, causing problems like acidity, indigestion, bloating, constipation, loose motion, ulcer, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. It indirectly leads to obesity and diabetes. It also affects the lungs and precipitates asthma, breathing difficulties, feeling of suffocation etc.
“It can cause muscular- skeletal problems such as back pain, neck pain, fatigue, body pain, arthritis and so on. It will also lead to infertility issues and low libido. “He added.
“Due to stress, the body releases the hormones, cortisol and adrenaline that induce physiological changes in the brain. Chronic stress has been linked to decrease in volume of grey matter in certain areas of the brain such as the hippocampus, frontal cortex and amygdala. These regions are involved in memory, learning and emotion regulation. “He said.
Principal Investigator for the Association of Studies for Mental Care Dr Purohit stated that research studies have shown that chronic stress can alter the connectivity between different regions of the brain, which ultimately affects cognitive and emotional processing. It can also impact the brain’s ability to adapt and change over time.
“Chronic stress has been linked to reduced neuroplasticity, which can ultimately impact learning and memory. Stress can also trigger inflammatory responses in the brain, which leads to damaged brain cells and impaired cognitive function and learning ability. Chronic stress also affects the balance of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norephedrine, which ultimately impacts the mood, behavior, emotion, motivation and also cognitive function.” he elaborated.
He pointed out that chronic stress can have a severe impact on the heart. Blood pressure and pulse rate go up. Patients get irregular heartbeats, weakness of the heart muscles or cardio-myopathy. Chronic stress can make a person more prone to heart attacks. It accelerates the wear and tear of cells. It could tempt people to lead an unhealthy lifestyle, develop unhealthy eating habits, smoke and drink more, spend nights without proper sleep, all of which send cholesterol levels up.
“Stress can also set the stage for blood clots to develop and thereby precipitate a heart attack,” he added
He emphasized making lifestyle changes, opting for healthy food and sleep patterns. Identify the triggers behind stress and deal with them as needed.
Meditate, exercise. Pursue hobbies like music or art, Dr Purihit said.
Take adequate rest, go on a digital detox once in a while and spend time with nature or in a tranquil place.
Spend time with family, children, pets and other loved ones so as to reduce stress.