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Stress As A Social Determinant Of Health

2379 words - 10 pages

Research shows that, long term exposures to stress causes devastating effects on the body and mind of an individual. In addition, recent findings show that even little stress can cause negative impacts to the body such as stomach aches. The negative effects of stress on the body depend on the triggering factors. Sudden mental stress factors such as anger may lead to heart attacks, angina, arrhythmias, and sometimes, sudden death. However, instant deaths are more common among patients suffering from heart problems (Butler-Jones, 2012). The unfortunate thing is that many persons hardly realize it when they are experiencing chronic stress. Their situation only becomes evident when chronic stress has developed into acute stress, which mostly leads to life threatening conditions like heart attacks. The moment that stressful matters interfere with one’s normal life, the deterioration of the health becomes evident (Thoits, 2011).
Chronic stress can worsen an already existing problem in the body. In a recent study, the participants improved drastically from chronic stress after learning how to control the triggers of stress (Nguyen, 2012). The triggers included negative thoughts and pain. For this reason, stress is a more of a negative social determinant of health. This section analyzes stress as a social negative determinant of health based on several considerations supported by scientific research (Stroebe, 2011). According to recent scientific reports, stress affects the health of an individual in two ways: physiologically and psychologically. Firstly, it is clear that the human body is build to withstand a given degree of stress. When the stress surpasses this level, it becomes distress, a negative stress stimulus (Karelina & Devries, 2011).
Distress leads to mild health symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, and chest pains; sometimes, it degenerates into worse conditions such as high blood pressure and insomnia. Relieving stress by abusing drugs or engaging in alcoholism only aggravates the situation. Research findings portray that about 43% of the adult population suffers from adverse health conditions caused by stress (Moniz, 2010). On the other hand, 90% of the doctor’s visits have a connection with stress and other related ailments. Some of the related problems include anxiety, hypertension, asthma, skin problems, diabetes, depression, and headaches. These examples are enough to portray that stress has negative effects on the general health of an individual. Moreover, the situation becomes worse if the stress persists for a long time. Secondly, the evolution of stress in the past millennium has helped protect individuals from imminent attacks and dangers, but not without negative outcomes (Hoyt, Chase-Lansdale, Mcdade, & Adam, 2012).
This is commonly referred to as ‘flight-or-fight reaction.’ It prepares the body for immediate action. It does so by activating the hypothalamus part of the brain that triggers the adrenal glands that produce...

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