Stress and illness

Stress and illness

Stress is not something negative in itself. Stress is an adaptive response of the organism to the changing environment in which we live. That adaptive response has been our best ally for survival as living beings in a changing environment that demands a series of resources to adapt, generating the stress response in our body.

Stress is something totally subjective that differs as much as individuals who suffer from it. It depends on the way we perceive the situation and above all, the coping resources we possess.

Humanity is divided into infinite roles, workers, couples, unemployed, caregivers with a multitude of realities and ongoing problems that no longer have a quick solution, but extended over time making the natural reaction adaptively launched to face dangers and situations adverse effects, it ends up becoming harmful when the sensation of alarm does not cease, but the stress is not always negative.


  • 1 Positive stress vs. negative stress
  • 2 Stress and illness
  • 3 Stress at work

Positive stress vs. negative stress

The positive stress, or eustrés, is that stress that stimulates us to face problems. Increase our creativity and our ability to face problems, favoring that we respond efficiently to those situations that require it. On the other hand, we would meet him distress or negative stress as the response that a person has to a situation that overcomes it. This type of stress causes fatigue, fatigue and psychological wear. It is the best known stress and is very harmful to health, both physical and mental, with an unquestionable relationship with the disease.

Stress and illness

Stress has a negative influence on the development of cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, strokes, especially digestive disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, as well as depression, anxiety, etc..

Authors such as Sternberg of the University of Arizona, show the influence of the neurological and endocrine systems - the most stress-related - on the immune system.

The immune system reduces its effectiveness in situations of sustained stress, not getting sick by itself, but limiting immune functioning and exposing us more severely to external attacks.

The brain interprets a situation as stressful (working more hours than normal without breaks). The hypothalamus, brain structure responsible for coordinating behaviors related to survival, sends electrical signals to the pituitary gland and this, in turn, sends the hormone ACTH to the adrenal glands where cortisol is released and the adrenalin. High levels of cortisol in blood, produce changes in leukocytes responsible for fighting against potential diseases, in addition to reducing the production and action of cytokines, responsible for launching the immune response.

Ronald Glaser's studies from the University of Ohio conclude that stress and discouragement cause the immune system to malfunction. Stressed individuals, he says, suffer from sleep disorders, eating and gastric problems, reducing positive activities such as sports. The muscular tension that occurs in the episodes of stress, eventually become contractures and backaches, also increasing the incidence of headaches and concentration problems.

Stress at work

The working world is no stranger to stress and its negative consequences. Burnout syndrome or burn from work, would be defined as a response to work stress characterized by the negative way of assessing professionals their way of performing the work, as well as their way of relating to the people they serve, caused by the feeling of being emotionally exhausted. In organizations where the concern of the quality of work life of their workers is zero, there are greater problems with this syndrome, as well as an increase in the percentage of absenteeism, work leave, decrease in productivity and quality of work.

Stress is a problem that may sooner or later affect us in life, so it is important to know the information and its functioning. On many occasions, stress can be behind many health problems, even without knowing its cause.

It is essential to understand that we are human and that a busy pace of life, wanting to keep all things under control or not resting will never lead to stress and illness. We may consider normal the tension that your day causes you and you are resigned to suffer it, but it is convenient for you to know the limits of your body and know that sooner or later, we will end up paying the excesses.

It may interest you:

  • What is stress, symptoms and treatment?
  • Our response to stress and General Adaptation Syndrome
  • How to cope with stress
  • Cortisol, the stress hormone
  • How to relieve stress from economic concerns
  • Test on vulnerability to stress
  • Test on stress coping skills


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